Radial Distribution of Heartwood Extractives and Lignin in Mature European Larch


  • Notburga Gierlinger
  • Rupert Wimmer


Larix decidua Mill, phenolics, acetone soluble extractives, hot-water extractives, within-tree


For exterior applications high proportions of heartwood are desired, which are normally found in older trees. Extractive and lignin contents are believed to change across the radius, but only a few reports exist on this issue, especially on mature trees. In total, 27 mature and dominant European larch trees (Larix decidua Mill.) were harvested from a 146-year-old and a 250-year-old forest site in Austria and France, respectively. The radial trends for extractive contents were linear to slightly curvilinear from the pith to the heartwood-sapwood boundary. The content of acetone extractives and phenolics increased between 1.2% and 2.2% per 100 years, while the hot-water extractive content increased about 5% per 100 years. Phenol and acetone content doubled within 10 cm of radius, while hot-water extractives took between 20-30 cm to double the concentration. Correlation coefficients between ring width and extractive content changed with cambial age, showing positive relationships in the first growth phase but turning around to negative ones at ages over 100 years. Juvenile-mature correlations illustrated a potential to determine extractives and lignin in mature wood through analysis of juvenile wood.


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