Studies of the ray parenchyma cell ends on the radial flow of Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis)
It is widely accepted that either ray tracheids or ray parenchyma cells offer the major flow pathways radially for the impregnation of softwood with preservative chemicals. It is now generally recognised that, if radial flow does occur through ray parenchyma cells, the cross-field pits play a dominating role for the liquid movement in the radial direction. In this case, the radial flow of fluid is through the ray parenchyma cells to the longitudinal tracheids across cross-field pit apertures and then back again to the other ray parenchyma cells. It is in this context that cross-field pits which favours flow in the radial direction via a longitudinal route, and thus gives a long path length for radial flow. However, the presence of small channels (i.e. simple pits) between the two ray parenchyma cells may also have a recognisable influence on the radial flow, and exceed the continuous pathway for liquid movement. In this study, therefore, the anatomical structure (the end platform angle, the number of the simple pits per ray parenchyma cell end, their dimensions and the changes in dimensions across growth rings) of the ray parenchyma cell ends have been examined by scanning electron microscope (and microscopic images were then analysed by image analyser) to explain the differences in radial permeability between the extremes in the radial treatment data.
Keywords: SITKA SPRUCE; PICEA SITCHENSIS; RADIAL FLOW; RAY PARENCHYMA CELL; SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY; SEM; IMAGE ANALYSER