Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Lithocarpus spp. (Mempening, Chinese oak)

Nomenclature etc. FAGACEAE. Species included in the description: Lithocarpus amygdalifolius (Skan) Hayata (1), Lithocarpus cyrtorhyncha (Miq.) Rheder (1), Lithocarpus daphnoideus (Bl.) A. Camus (1), Lithocarpus henryi (Seem.) Rehd. (1), Lithocarpus soleriana (Vidal) Rehd. (1), Lithocarpus vinkii Soepadmo (1). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Description based on 6 specimens. Tree. Geographic distribution: temperate Asia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indomalesia.

General. Growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent. Heartwood basically brown, with streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Odour indistinct or absent.

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in diagonal and/or radial pattern, exclusively solitary. Vessel outline rounded. Two distinct vessel diameter classes absent. Average tangential vessel diameter 70–160–210 µm; diameter of vessel lumina: large. Average number of vessels/mm² 3–9; vessels per square millimetre few. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 5–8 µm, small, not vestured. Practically no intervessel pits observed. Vessel-ray pits with reduced borders or apparently simple, rounded or angular and horizontal to vertical, of uniform size or type, of the same type in adjacent elements, located throughout the ray. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present and not observed, L.henryi with brown to black organic deposits.

Tracheids and fibres. Vascular or vasicentric tracheids commonly present. Fibres of medium wall thickness to very thick-walled. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered and distinctly bordered. Helical thickenings absent. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma present, banded and not banded. Axial parenchyma bands not marginal (or seemingly marginal), reticulate, fine, up to three cells wide. Banded parenchyma observed in: L. cyrtorhyncha, L. daphnoideus, L. soleriana, L. vinkii; not observed in: L.amygdalifolius, L.henryi. Axial parenchyma apotracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 6–9. Unlignified parenchyma absent. Apotracheal parenchyma observed in: L.amygdalifolius, L.daphnoideus, L.henryi.

Rays. Rays present, 11–17 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 1–10 cells wide, very wide (more than 10 seriate). Aggregate rays absent. Rays of two distinct sizes. Height of large rays commonly over 1000 µm. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent. Sheath cells absent. Tile cells absent. Perforated ray cells absent. Disjunctive ray parenchyma end walls indistinct or absent. Rays uniseriate and more than 10 seriate.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Oil and mucilage cells absent. Intercellular canals absent. Laticifers or tanniniferous tubes absent.

Cambial variants. Included phloem absent. Other cambial variants absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in ray cells and axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing ray cells procumbent, upright and/or square ray cells chambered. Crystals in procumbent ray cells in radial alignment. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Crystal containing cells of normal size. Cystoliths absent. Crystals observed only in large rays of L.cyrtorhyncha and L.vinkii. Silica not observed.

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood not fluorescent. Water extract fluorescent; basically yellow or shade of yellow. Heartwood extractives not leachable by water. Ethanol extract not fluorescent. Colour of ethanol extract colourless to brown or shade of brown. Water extract with weakly yellowish fluorescence. Chrome azurol-S test negative. Froth test positive. Splinter burns to partial ash. Ash bright white.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Lithocarpus amygdafolius. • Tangential section. Lithocarpus kawakamii. • Radial section. Lithocarpus kawakamii. • Vasicentric tracheids. Lithocarpus soleriana. Note presence of vasicentric tracheids.

The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009.’.