Botany lecture notes

Difference between Heartwood and Sapwood

Difference Duramen and Alburnum

Heartwood vs Sapwood
(Similarities and Differences between Heartwood and Sapwood)

Anatomically, wood is the secondary xylem of seed-plants. As the tree ages, certain permanent changes take place in the wood. The inner parts of the wood become darker. The xylem in this central part is called heartwood or ‘duramen’. The peripheral part of the wood is light coloured and it is called sapwood or ‘alburnum’. The sap conduction occurs through the sapwood.

The dark colour of heartwood is due to the accumulation many aromatic substances, pigments and tannins. These changes make the wood more strong and durable and resistant to decay by insect or fungal attacks. The inner heartwood provides the mechanical support.

The present post discusses the similarities and differences between heartwood and soft wood with a comparison table.

Similarities between Heartwood and Sapwood

Ø  Both are composed of secondary xylem formed after many years of secondary growth.

Ø  Both are derived from the vascular cambium.

Ø  Both can provide mechanical support.

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