Abstract


A total of 45 native Costa Rican tree species are threatened or in danger of extinction, but the Convention on International Trade Endangered Species (CITES) includes only eight of these in its Appendices. However, the identification of other species based on their wood anatomy is limited. The present study objective was to describe and to compare wood anatomy and fluorescence activity in some endangered or threatened species of Costa Rica. A total of 45 (22 endangered and 23 threatened with extinction) wood samples of these species, from the xylaria of the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica and the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, were examined. Surface fluorescence was positive in eight species, water extract fluorescence was positive in six species and ethanol extract fluorescence was positive in 24 species. Almost all species were diffuse porous except for occasional (Cedrela odorata, C. fissilis, Cordia gerascanthus) or regular (C. salvadorensis and C. tonduzii) semi-ring porosity. A dendritic vessel arrangement was found in Sideroxylon capari, and pores were solitary in Guaiacum sanctum and Vantanea barbourii. Vessel element length was shortest in Guaiacum sanctum and longest in Humiriastrum guianensis, Minquartia guianensis and Vantanea barbourii. Finally, anatomical information and fluorescence activity were utilized to construct an identification key of species, in which fluorescence is a feature used in identification.
Keywords: fluorescence, costa rican woods, tropical woods, wood identification key