Morphometric Analysis Applied to Wood Structure. I. Cross-Sectional Cell Shape and Area Change in Red Spruce


  • Richard Jagels
  • Mary V. Dyer


Circularity index, cell lumen area, image analyzer, nitrogen fertilization, cell-wall area, red spruce


A new method for assessing seasonal change in cross-sectional tracheid shape in conifers is described and tested with red spruce. An equation (called circularity index) was used to reference cell shape to a circle with equal circumference. Cell lumen boundaries were measured on a rear projection digitizer coupled to a computer. Circularity indices and cell lumen areas were determined, and curves of these parameters were plotted across growth rings. Circularity index curves proved to be a sensitive measure of true latewood, and cell lumen area curves detected variation in transition latewood. Cell-wall area changes that were related to site differences correlated with earlier specific gravity determinations. Cell lumen area curves provided an explanation for nonsignificant specific gravity differences in spruce wood following nitrogen fertilization.


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