Growth layer formation in Avicennia marina: the story beyond.

Nele Schmitz, Anouk Verheyden, James Gitundu Kairo, Hans Beeckman, Nico Koedam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


On sanded stem disks of the mangrove Avicennia marina (Avicenniaceae) a distinct pattern of light coloured phloem bands and darker xylem bands can be observed. However, few studies have addressed the controlling factors of the successive cambia that create these growth layers. Whereas Chapman (1947) considered the rings to be annual, Gill (1971) found them to be related to stem diameter and suggested an endogenous control. The aim of this study is to establish whether the growth layer formation of A. marina is characterized by a certain periodicity and whether it is influenced by environmental factors such as salinity and inundation frequency.

First, the non-annual character of the growth layers is demonstrated. An annual formation of three growth layers as compared to a half is found in three plantation trees of known age and three cambially marked trees respectively. As suggested before the prime determinant of the production of new cambia is presented to be stem size. However, the relationship between growth layer width and environmental factors is noteworthy. Based on an additional 28 stem disks from three study sites we noticed a decrease in growth layer width with increasing salinity and/or inundation frequency of the site. Although the relation is not necessarily linear it implies that the possibility of age estimations based on growth layer count can not be excluded yet, at least within one site. It is concluded that the banded pattern of A. marina is unsuitable for dendrochronological applications. Nevertheless, the functional and/or mechanical significance of the variation in growth layer width offers interesting perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApril 21-23 Tervuren, Belgium
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 21 Sep 200925 Sep 2009

Publication series

NameTRACE (Tree Rings in Archaeology, Climatology and Ecology)


ConferenceFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet


  • wood formation
  • avicennia marina
  • mangrove
  • successive cambia

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