Heartwood

Definition - What does Heartwood mean?

Heartwood is the central cylinder found in tree trunks. Heartwood forms as the tree ages and the inner xylem cells lose the capacity transmit water. Heartwood tends to be darker in color than sapwood because it is normally filled with various types of oils, dyes, and sugars. The primary function of heartwood is to provide adequate support to the tree.

Heartwood is also known as duramen.

MaximumYield explains Heartwood

Heartwood can occasionally be aromatic due to the substances it contains. It is mechanically strong, which makes it quite resistant to rot and different types of decay. By the same token, chemicals such as insecticides cannot easily penetrate the heartwood. Due to the numerous deposits that it contains, its inner system is blocked by tyloses.

Some trees produce a very thin outer layer of sapwood and form heartwood quite early in their lives. These include but are not limited to sassafras, osage-orange, mulberry, black locust, and chestnut. Other trees form a thick outer coat of sapwood and only produce heartwood as they get older. Examples include pine, beech, hackberry, hickory, ash, and maple.

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