Genetic Variation in the Wood of <i>Fraxinus Americana</i>


  • Joseph E. Armstrong
  • David T. Funk


Polyploidy, wood anatomy, genetic variation, white ash, fiber length


The wood structure of white ash seedlings representing seven populations ranging from New Brunswick to Arkansas was compared. All the seedlings were raised in a nursery in southern Illinois to reduce environmental sources of variation. Any variation observed was attributed to ecotypic adaptation to the environment at the seed source. The genetic variation in wood cell sizes was separated into two components, one related to the geographic origin of the seed source, and the other related to the ploidy level of the tree. Diploid trees from the southernmost seed source had slightly longer vessel elements and fibers than diploid trees from northern seed sources. The longest-celled trees studied were those that were found to have polyploid genomes. There was no correlation between the rate of cambial divisions and cambial derivative lengths. Variation related to ploidy and geographic source may prove useful in a tree improvement program designed to increase fiber length.


Baas, P. 1973. The wood anatomical range in Ilex (Aquifoliaceae) and its ecological and phylogenetic significance. Blumea 21:193-258.nBaas, P. 1976. Some functional and adaptive aspects of vessel member morphology. Leiden Botanical Series, No. 3. Pp. 157-181.nBannan, M. W. 1967. Sequential changes in rate of anticlinal division, cambial cell length, and ring width in the growth of coniferous trees. Can. J. Bot. 45:1359-1369.nBey, F., F. H. Fung, and R. A. Daniels. 1977. Genotypic variation in white ash—nursery results. Cent. States For. Tree Improv. Conf. Proc. 10:141-145.nBuijtenen, J. P. van, P. N. Joranson, and D. W. Einspahr. 1957. Naturally occurring triploid quaking aspen in the United States. Proc. Soc. Am. For. Ann. Mtg., Syracuse, N.Y. Pp. 62-64.nBuijtenen, J. P. van, P. N. Joranson, and D. W. Einspahr. 1958. Diploid versus triploid aspen as pulpwood sources, with reference to growth, chemical, physical, and pulping differences. Tappi 41(4):170-175.nDenne, M. P., and V. Whitbread. 1978. Variation in fibre length within trees of Fraxinus excelsio. Can. J. For. Res. 8:253-260.nEinspahr, D. W., J. P. van Buijtenen, and J. R. Peckham. 1963. Natural variation and heritability in triploid aspen. Silvae Genetica 12:51-58.nEinspahr, D. W., M. K. Benson, and J. R. Peckham. 1968. Wood and pulp properties of 5-year-old diploid, triploid, and triploid hybrid aspen. Tappi 51:72-75.nJohansen, D. A. 1940. Plant microtechnique. McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York.nMcGinnes, E. A. Jr., and P. K. Melcarek. 1976. Equipment for studying the color characteristics of wood at the cellular level. Wood Sci. 9(1):46-50.nRandel, W. R., and J. E. Winstead. 1976. Environmental influence on cell and wood characters of Liquidambar styraciflua L. Bot. Gaz. 137(1):45-51.nRichardson, S. D. 1961. A biological basis for sampling in studies of wood properties. Tappi 44(3):170-173.nSchaefer, V. G., and J. P. Miksche. 1978. Microspectrophotometric determination of DNA per cell and polyploidy in Fraxinus americana L. Silvae Genetica 26(5-6):184-192.nStebbins, G. L. 1950. Variation and evolution in plants. Columbia University Press, New York.nVan der Graff, N. A., and P. Baas. 1974. Wood anatomical variation in relation to latitude and altitude. Blumea 22:101-121.nWinstead, J. E. 1972. Fiber-tracheid length and wood specific gravity as ecotypic characters in Liquidambar styraciflua L. Ecology 53:165-172.nWinstead, J. E. 1978. Tracheid length as an ecotypic character in Acer negundo L. Am. J. Bot. 65(7):811-812.nWright, J. W. 1944. Genotypic variation in white ash. J. Forestry 42:489-495.n






Research Contributions