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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Licaria capitata (Laurel, canela)

Nomenclature etc. LAURACEAE. Trade and local names: louro, canela (BR); laurel, canela (EC, CO, AR, etc.); kaneel (SR); silverballi (GY). all names with various epithets as a function of species and region. Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: Mexico and Central America to temperate South America.

General. Growth ring boundaries distinct or indistinct or absent. Heartwood basically brown and yellow green. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour. Odour distinct, or indistinct or absent. Density 0.6–0.9 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Vessel outline rounded, or angular. Average tangential vessel diameter (55–)70–110(–130) µm; diameter of vessel lumina: medium, or large. Average number of vessels/mm² (11–)13–24(–28); vessels per square millimetre few, or moderately numerous. Perforation plates simple or scalariform, with 1–15 bars. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) (7–)9–11(–12) µm, medium or large. Vessel-ray pits with reduced borders or apparently simple, rounded or angular and horizontal to vertical, of uniform size or type. Tyloses in vessels present, thinwalled and sclerotic.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 750–1200 µm. Average fibre length medium. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres exclusively septate. Septate fibres evenly distributed.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty, or vasicentric. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 4–8.

Rays. Rays multiseriate (also if only few), 2–3 cells wide, narrow (2–3 seriate). Height of large rays commonly 500 to 1000 µm. Rays composed of two or more cell types (heterocellular). Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Oil and mucilage cells present, associated with axial parenchyma or ray parenchyma. Intercellular canals absent. Laticifers or tanniniferous tubes absent.

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

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, needle-like (acicular) to in other forms, located in ray cells or fibres. Crystal-containing ray cells upright and/or square or procumbent. Number of crystals per cell or chamber more than one. Silica not observed.

Physical and chemical tests. Water extract basically colourless to brown or shade of brown. Colour of ethanol extract yellow or shade of yellow.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Licaria capitata. • Tangential section. Licaria capitata. • Radial section. Licaria capitata. • Scalariform perforation plates. Licaria capitata. The only Licaria species known to possess scalariform perforation plates regularly.


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. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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