Commercial Timbers

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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Flindersia spp. (Queensland maple, silkwood)

Nomenclature etc. RUTACEAE. Incl. F. australis R. Brown, F. amboinensis Poir., F. brayleyana F.v.Muell., F. ifflaina F.v.Muell., F. schottiana F.v.Muell. Trade and local names: silkwood (PNG, GB, AUS); F. ifflaina: hickory ash (AUS); F. amboinensis, F. schottiana: silver ash (AUS); F. brayleyana: silkwood maple, Queensland maple (AUS). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Description based on 9 ((F. australis (3), F. amboinensis (3), F. brayleyana (1), F. ifflaina (1), F. schottiana (1))). Tree. Geographic distribution: Indomalesia and Australia.

General. Growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent. Heartwood basically brown yellow (darkening to organge brown), without streaks. Odour distinct. Wood of commercial potential.

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Vessel outline rounded. Two distinct vessel diameter classes absent. Average tangential vessel diameter 65–150–265 µm; diameter of vessel lumina: large. Average number of vessels/mm² 5–8–10; vessels per square millimetre few. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 3–5 µm ((F. amboinensis with pits less than 4 µm), minute and small, not vestured. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits, of uniform size or type, of the same type in adjacent elements, located throughout the ray. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels absent. Other deposits in heartwood vessels present and not observed, Yellow, brown to nearly black organic contents in vessels..

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 (in one specimen of F. amboinensis no banded parenchyma observed). Axial parenchyma bands not marginal (or seemingly marginal), scalariform and bands much wider than rays, fine, up to three cells wide and coarse, more than three cells wide. Axial parenchyma apotracheal and paratracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse. Paratracheal axial parenchyma scanty and vasicentric. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–6. Unlignified parenchyma absent.

Rays. Rays present, 4–6(–8) per tangential mm, exclusively uniseriate and multiseriate (also if only few) (F. ifflaina with exclusively uniseriate rays), (1–)2–4 cells wide, narrow (2–3 seriate) and of medium width (3–5 seriate). Rays with multiseriate portions as wide as uniseriate portions absent. Aggregate rays absent. Rays of one size. Height of large rays up to 500 µm and commonly 500 to 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.

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 axial parenchyma cells. Crystal-containing axial parenchyma cells chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Crystal containing cells of normal size. Cystoliths absent. Silica not observed.

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

Illustrations. • Transverse section: F. australis. Flindersia australis. The genus Flindersia shows a great variation in wood structure represented in this database by F. australis (heartwood yellowish brown, abundant axial parenchyma, rays multiseriate); by F. ifflaina (heartwood light yellowish brown, little axial parenchyma, rays almost exclusively uniseriate); and by F. brayleana (heartwood light reddish brown, axial parenchyma scarce in fine marginal bands, rays multiseriate). • Tangential section: F. australis. Flindersia australis. • Radial section: F. australis. Flindersia australis. • Transverse section: F. ifflaina. Flindersia ifflaina. The genus Flindersia shows a great variation in wood structure represented in this database by F. australis (heartwood yellowish brown, abundant axial parenchyma, rays multiseriate); by F. ifflaina (heartwood light yellowish brown, little axial parenchyma, rays almost exclusively uniseriate); and by F. brayleana (heartwood light reddish brown, axial parenchyma scarce in fine marginal bands, rays multiseriate). • Tangential section: F. ifflaina. Flindersia ifflaina. • Radial section: F. ifflaina. Flindersia ifflaina. • Transverse section: F. brayleana. Flindersia brayleana. The genus Flindersia shows a great variation in wood structure represented in this database by F. australis (heartwood yellowish brown, abundant axial parenchyma, rays multiseriate); by F. ifflaina (heartwood light yellowish brown, little axial parenchyma, rays almost exclusively uniseriate); and by F. brayleana (heartwood light reddish brown, axial parenchyma scarce in fine marginal bands, rays multiseriate). • Tangential section: F. brayleana. Flindersia brayleana. • Radial section: F. brayleana. Flindersia brayleana.


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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