Commercial Timbers


H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Aesculus spp. (Rosskastanie, horse chestnut)

Nomenclature etc. HIPPOCASTANACEAE. Important species: Aesculus hippocastanum L. (Europe); A. glabra Willd., A. octandra Marsh. (North America); A. indica Colebr., A. turbinata Bl. (temperate Asia). Trade and local names: A. hippocastanum: Rosskastanie (DE); horse chestnut (GB); maronnier d'Inde (FR); wilde kastanje (NL); castaño de Indias, falso castaño (ES); hestekastanje (DE, NL). A. octandra: sweet buckeye, yellow buckeye (US); A. glabra: Ohio buckeye (US). A. turbinata: chiire dochi, tochi, tochi-nochi (JP). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: Europe, excl. Mediterranean, or Mediterranean incl. N. Africa and Middle East to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, or North America to Mexico and Central America.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct. Heartwood basically yellow to white or grey, without streaks. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Odour indistinct or absent. Density 0.4–0.55 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows or radial rows of 4 or more. Average tangential vessel diameter 40–60(–80) µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 100–150. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 4–6 µm, not vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits, restricted to marginal rows. Helical thickenings present, in narrow and wide vessel elements, throughout the body of vessel elements. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled.

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

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma present, banded. Axial parenchyma bands marginal (or seemingly marginal), fine, up to three cells wide. Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty.

Rays. Rays 8–12 per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate. Rays composed of a single cell type (homocellular); homocellular ray cells procumbent. Tile cells absent. Perforated ray cells absent. Disjunctive ray parenchyma end walls indistinct or absent.

Storied structures. Storied structure present (A. turbinata) or absent (all other species), all rays storied. Arrangement of tiers regular (horizontal or straight), or irregular. Number of ray tiers per axial millimetre 2–3.

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 not observed. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Aesculus hippocastanus. left: blow-up. • Tangential section. Aesculus hippocastanus. Inset: Helical thickenings in vessels. • Tangential section. Aesculues turbinata. Note irregularly storied rays. • Radial section. Aesculus hippocastanus. Inset: Ray-vessel pits restricted to marginal rows.

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.’.