Relationship between Ring Width and Tracheid Characteristics In Picea crassifolia: Implication in Dendroclimatology

Jinmei Xu, Jianxiong Lu, Robert Evans, Geoffrey M. Downes


Ring width represents the total width of cells in a growing season. Relatively few studies have identified which of the parameters, cell number, size, or wall thickness is the greater contributor to variations in ring width. It is difficult to clearly explain the relationship between the climate in which a tree is located and the ring growth. In this study, the ring width and various tracheid characteristics (radial lumen diameter, double wall thickness, and number) in 298 rings of Picea crassifolia wood were investigated. Tree rings were quantitatively categorized based on their width into large, medium, and narrow classes. The tracheid number and lumen diameter were strongly correlated with annual ring width. The tracheid number had the strongest effect on the ring width. The effect of the tracheid number was three times larger than that of the lumen diameter. More earlywood cells were formed in larger rings, while larger earlywood cells were produced in years when narrow rings were formed. Wall thickness had no appreciable effect on ring width. The results of this study help to understand the relationship between the climate and the ring growth from the tree physiology perspective, when ring width is used as a climate proxy.


Tracheid number; Tracheid diameter; Tracheid wall thickness; Ring width; Pointer year; Wood science; Dendroclimatology

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