Wood ID: Species Characteristics
Average specific gravity: 0.50 Heartwood color: Light brown to brown or
reddish brown Pore distribution: Ring-porous Earlywood: Pores large, in continuous row Latewood: Pores in wavy bands Tyloses: Present in earlywood, but usually sparse Rays: Not distinct without lens; homogeneous 1-7
(mostly 4-6) seriate.
Ash Fraxinus spp.
Average specific gravity: 0.60Heartwood color: Light brown or grayish brown.Sapwood color: Creamy white (may be very wide)Pore distribution: Ring-porousEarlywood: 2-4 pores wide; pores moderately large,
surrounded by lighter tissue
Latewood: Pores solitary and in radial multiples of 2-3, surrounded by vasicentric parenchyma or connected by confluent parenchyma in outer latewood. Thick-walled.
Tyloses: Fairly abundant (some vessels open) Rays: Not distinct to eye, but clearly visible with lens; 1-3 seriate
Average specific gravity: 0.69 Heartwood color: Olive or yellow-brown to dark
yellow-brown; dark russet brown with exposure Fluorescence: Bright yellow Sapwood: Never more than 3 growth rings wide Pore distribution: Ring-porous Earlywood: 2-3 pores wide; pores large. Latewood: Pores in nest-like groups, which merge
into interrupted or somewhat continuous bands in outer latewood; latewood fiber mass appears dense and dark in contrast to yellowish; tyloses filled pores and rays.
Tyloses: Extremely abundant with yellowish cast and sparkle, solidly packing vessels and making adjacent pores indistinct.
Rays: 1-7 (mostly 3-5) seriate
Average specific gravity: 0.72 Heartwood color: Light to medium brown or
reddish brown Pore distribution: Ring-porous Earlywood: Mostly an intermittent single row or
thick-walled pores with fiber mass where inter-rupted Latewood: Pores not numerous, solitary and in radial
multiples of 2-5. Thick-walled. Tyloses: Moderately abundant Rays: 1-4 seriate Parenchyma: Banded parenchyma and rays form a
reticulate pattern distinctly visible against the background fiber mass with a hand lens (but banded parenchyma absent from earlywood zone)
Northern Red Oak
Average specific gravity: 0.63 Heartwood Color: Light brown, usually with flesh or
pinkish-colored cast. Pore Distribution: Ring-porous Earlywood: Up to 4 or 5 rows or large solitary pores. Latewood: Pores solitary in radial lines, few and
distinct ("countable"), vessels thickwalled Tyloses: Absent or sparse in earlywood Rays: Largest rays conspicuous; tallest less than 1 in.
(tangential surface). Narrow raysuniseriate (one cell wide) or in part bisariate
Average specific gravity: 0.68 Heartwood color: Light to dark brown to grayish
brown. Pore Distribution: Ring-porous Earlywood: Up to 4 rows of large pores Latewood: Pores small, solitary or in multiples, in
spreading radial arrangement, numerous and indistinct ("uncountable"), grading to invisibly small with lens. Vessels thin-walled.
Tyloses: Abundant Rays: Largest rays conspicuous; tallest greater than 11/4 in. Narrow rays uniseriate or in part biseriate.
Average specific gravity: 0.55 Heartwood color: medium brown to deep
chocolate brown Pore distribution: semi-ring-porous Pores: earlywood pores fairly large, decreasing
gradually to quite small in outer latewood; pores
solitary or in radial multiples of 2 to several Tyloses: Moderately abundant Rays: fine, visible but not conspicuous with hand
lens, 1-5 seriate, cells appear round in tangential view Crystals: Occur sporadically in longitudinal paren-chyma cells
Average specific gravity: 0.37 Heartwood color: Creamy white to pale brown Odor: Faint but characteristic musty odor Pore distribution: Diffuse-porous; growth rings
indistinct or faintly delineated by marginal parynchyma, sometimes with blurry whitish spots along the growth ring boundary
Pores: Small, mostly in irregular multiples and clusters
Rays: Distinct but not conspicuous on transverse surface with lens. 1-6 seriate; ray cells appear laterally compressed in tangential view; rays have bright yellow cast
Average specific gravity: 0.64 Heartwood color: Creamy white with reddish tinge to medium reddish-brown Pore distribution: Diffuse porous; growth rings distinct.
Pores: Small, solitary and in irregular multiples and clusters, numerous and evenly distributed through-out most of the ring; narrow but distinct latewood in each ring due to fewer, smaller pores
Rays: Largest rays conspicuous on all surfaces; darker ray fleck against lighter background on radial surfaces. Largest rays 15-25 seriate; uniseriate rays common
Average specific gravity: 0.50
Heartwood color: Light to dark cinnamon or reddish-brown
Pore distribution: Diffuse-porous; growth rings sometimes distinct because of narrow zone or row of numerous slightly larger pores along initial earlywood.
Pores: Pores through growth ring solitary and in radial or irregular multiples and small clusters
Gum Defects: Common
Rays: Not visible on tangential surface; conspicuous light ray fleck on radial surfaces; distinct bright lines across transverse surface, conspicuous with lens. 1-6 (mostly 3-4) seriate.
Average Specific Gravity: 0.50 Heartwood Color: Medium grey or grey with green
or brown cast (wood usually has interlocked grain)
Pore Distribution: Diffuse-porous
Pores: Very small, numerous, solitary and in mul-tiples and small clusters
Rays: Barely visible even with hand lens; 1-4 seriate
Average specific gravity: 0.40
Heartwood color: Grayish to light grayish-brown. Occationally olive.
Pore distribution: Diffuse porous or semi-diffuse-porus. Usually an apparent size graduation from earlywood to latewood
Pores: Small to medium small; Solitary and in radial multiples of 2 to several
Rays: Very fine, not easily seen with hand lens
Average specific gravity: 0.49
Heartwood color: Light to dark brown, usually with a reddish cast
Pore distribution: Diffuse-porous; growth rings distinct due to unusual lighter color of latewood (thinner band and clearer than beech)
Pores: Small, solitary and in irregular multiples and clusters, numerous and evenly distributed through-out most of the growth ring; latewood zone evident by fewer, smaller pores
Rays: Easily visible without hand lens on all sur-faces, appearing uniform in size and evenly spaced on transverse and tangential surfaces, producing conspicuous dark ray fleck on radial surfaces. Largest rays up to 14 seriate; uniseriate rays not common.
Average specific gravity: 0.63
Heartwood color: Creamy white to light reddish-brown
Pore distribution: Diffuse-porous; growth rings distinct due to darker brown, narrow latewood line
Pores: Small, with largest approximately equal to maximum ray width in cross section; solitary or in radial multiples; very evenly distributed
Rays: Visible to eye on tangential surface as very fine, even-sized, evenly distributed lines; on radial surfaces, ray fleck usually conspicuous. Rays: Two distinct sizes: largest 7-8 seriate; uniseriate rays numerous.
Average specific gravity: 0.54 Heartwood color: Creamy white to light reddish-
brown, commonly with grayish cast or streaks.
Pore distribution: Diffuse-porous
Pores: Small, solitary and in radial multiples, very evenly distributed; largest as large or slightly larger than widest rays on cross section.
Rays: May be visible on tangential surface as very fine, even-sized and evenly spaced lines; on radial surface, ray fleck usually conspicuous. 1-5 seriate.
Average specific gravity: 0.62Heartwood color: Light brown to dark brown,
Pore distribution: Diffuse porous
Pores: Small to medium, solitary and in radial multiples of two to several pores
Rays: Rays smaller than pore diameters. Some pores may appear to be filled with a substance; 1-5 seriate.
Average specific gravity: 0.42 Heartwood color: Green, or yellow to tan with
greenish cast Sapwood color: creamy white (often wide) Pore distribution: Diffuse-porous; growth rings
delineated by distinct light cream or yellowish line of marginal parenchyma. Pores: Small, solitary, but mostly in radial or irregu-lar multiples and small clusters
Rays: Distinct on cross section with lens; produce conspicuous fine light ray fleck on radial surfaces. 1-5 (mostly 2-3) seriate
Eastern White Pine
Average specific gravity: 0.35 Odor: Pleasant, piney Heartwood: Distinct, darkening with age Grain appearance: Fairly even Earlywood / Latewood transition: Gradual Resin Canals: large, numerous, mostly solitary,
Southern Yellow Pine
Average specific gravity: 0.51 to 0.61 Odor: “pitchy” pine odor Heartwood: Distinct Grain appearance: Uneven Earlywood / Latewood transition: abrupt Resin Canals: Large, numerous, mostly solitary,
Average specific gravity: 0.40 Odor: None Heartwood: Light in color; indistinct from sapwood Grain appearance: Fairly even to moderately even Earlywood / Latewood transition: Gradual Resin Canals: Small, relatively few; solitary or
several in tangential groups, variably distributed
Average specific gravity: 0.40 Odor: None Heartwood: Indistinct, light in color Grain appearance: Fairly uneven Earlywood / Latewood transition: Fairly abrupt
to gradual Texture: Medium to medium-coarse
Average specific gravity: 0.36 Odor: None Heartwood: Indistinct, light in color
Grain appearance: moderately uneven to
moderately even Earlywood / Latewood transition: Very gradual Texture: Medium
Eastern Red Cedar
Average specific gravity: 0.47 Odor: “cedar-chest” odor, very distinct Heartwood: Distinct, deep purplish red, aging to
reddish-brown Grain appearance: Moderately uneven to fairly
even; latewood narrow Earlywood / Latewood transition: Gradual Texture: Very fine
Average specific gravity: 0.46 Odor: Faint to moderately rancid Heartwood: Usually distinct Grain appearance: Uneven Earlywood / Latewood transition: Abrupt; early-
wood medium yellow-brown; latewood amber to dark brown Texture: Coarse to very coarse
Brian Bond, Assistant Professor, and Peter Hamner, Research AssociateDepartment of Forestry, Wildlife and FisheriesThe University of Tennessee