growth rings page


NOTE: unless otherwise specifically stated, all of the images shown on this
page are of 1/4" square end grain cross sections shown at 12X with the top
of the image towards the bark and the bottom towards the pith so that
earlywood is towards the bottom of the growth rings and latewood is towards the top

to see all species with links to their anatomy page go here: species links

ring porous woods that have their own pages:
ring porous woods shown on this page(131 pics of 50+ species)

ailanthus chinkapin paulownia
autumn olive coffee tree russian olive
laburnum sassafras
catalpa locust sen
chestnut mulberry sugarberry
chinaberry osage orange sumac
chinese cedar

OTHER ring porous hardwoods


very obvious rays, frequent pore multiples in the earlywood pores, confluent parenchyma in the latewood pores



autumn olive

very dense, small pores, obvious rays




Catalpa is listed as being EITHER ring porous or semi ring porous. Clearly the Western/Northern catalpa samples (Catalpa speciosa) are strongly ring porous. The Southern catalpa sample (Catalpa bignonioides) is much closer to semi-ring-porous but certainly at a quick glance at a piece that was not well cleaned up, it would appear ring porous (and arguably, actually IS ring porous). The first three of the four unknown Catalpa species appear semi-ring porous but I've left them here with the rest of the catalpas. There are other Catalpa's (e.g. Cuban catalpa / Catalpa punctata and Haitian catalpa / Catalpa longissima) which are diffuse porous and are on the exotics page of the diffuse porous section on this site.

The Northern catalpa samples each have about 12 rings/inch whereas the Southern catalpa sample shown here has only has about 4.5 rings/inch. In general, catalpa has an area of thick early growth pores up to 4 or 5 pores thick, then trails off to a more diffuse arrangement of pores and ends up in the latewood with wavy tangential bands of pores.






chestnut and chinkapin

chestnut and chinkapin --- This clearly shows a common distinction between castanea spp. which has a fairly solid, continuous line of large early growth pores changing to smaller and smaller pores in loose dendritic groupings versus Castanopsis spp. which has separated, regularly spaced earlywood pores and then starting immediately a solid V-shaped dendric pattern of small pores. I point this out because chinkapin and chestnut common names are spread over both genera and at most lumber yards the two are lumped together and sold as chestnut (and in fact, on the wood-ID portion of this site I put chinkapin in the chestnut page on the main site for that very reason).


  • American chestnut / Castanea dentata
  • chestnut / Castanea dentata






    chinkapin clearly showing the V-shaped dendritic groups that distinguish chinkapin (Castanopsis spp.) from chestnut (Castanea spp.)


    chinaberry / Melia azedarach --- Fairly large earlywood pores up to several pores thick then trailing off to smaller pores that stay roughly the same size and then begin to form winged bands of confluent parenchyma at the end of the latewood. Typically fast growing so many 1/2" thick samples don't show even a single full growth ring.





    chinese cedar

    chinese cedar / Toona sinensis --- Fairly large earlywood pores up to several pores thick then dropping abruptly to much smaller pores that become very small at the end of the latewood.

    NOTE: most Toona species are diffuse porous to semi ring porouus and have characteristics similar to the mahoganies and are thus shown on the mahogany page. Toona sinensis is the only one I have that is strongly ring porous.




    coffee tree

    earlywood pores several rows thick, some confulent parenchyma at the end of the latewood, rays very apparent at 10X, relative thickness of earlywood vs latewood varies considerably. NOTE: the designation "Kentucky" may or may not indicate that it was harvested in Kentucky. The growth range is considerable larger than just Kentucky

  • Kentucky coffee tree / Gymnocladus dioica
  • Kentucky coffee tree / Gymnocladus dioica
  • Kentucky coffee tree / Gymnocladus dioica





    both "golden rain tree" and "golden chain tree" are used as common names for laburnum, earlywood pores only a couple of rows thick, heavy sections throughout the latewood of what are either diffuse-in-aggregate parenchyma or bands of pores with vasicentric parenchyma


    black locust --- Earlywood 2 or 3 pores thick trailing off to smaller pores that become wavy tangential bands in the latewood. Some of my end grain pics show pores clogged with sanding dust, but black locust pores are thick with tylosis so that's some of what you are seeing in the pores on these samples. The light-colored tissue behind the earlywood pores is parenchyma cells. Although generally ring porous, Robinia pseudoacacia can verge on, and even be, semi ring porous as you will see in these samples.







    black locust root sections. In each case the first pic is from near the pith and the second is farther out. Because of the extremely slow growth, there is very little latewood, just mostly lines of earlywood pores. These are so full of holes that they are amazingly light for locust.


    honey locust --- Earlywood 2 or 3 pores thick trailing off to smaller pores that become wavy tangential bands in the latewood. Like black locust, honey locust can verge on, and even sometime be, semi ring porous.




    water locust


    mulberry --- fairly thick, very noticeable, lines of earlywood pores 2 or 3 pores thick and then trailing off to smaller pores that sometimes become slightly wavy tangential bands in the latewood. For these samples at least, the white mulberry has a relatively thicker line of early wood pores. Due to a questionable identification of a particular sample, Mark Peet and I spent some time looking at various Morus end grains both here and on the Internet and our conclusion is that distinguishing between Morus rubra and Morus alba via end grain is not as straight forward as we would like. Paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) is on the semi ring porous page.










    osage orange





    usually there is thick vasicentric parenchyma in the latewood pores, sometimes with confluence; paulownia can be ring porous or semi-ring porous but I have put all samples on this page



    Russian olive


    Russian olive --- earlywood pores bands have an unusually large number of rows and appear almost like one thick solid band









    heavy confluent parenchyma in the latewood


    sumac --- Earlywood up to several pores thick then trailing quickly to smaller pores that stay about the same right up to the very last part of the latewood, where they become even smaller. Little to no confulent parenchyma in the latewood.

    note that Rhus ovata is clearly semi diffuse porous and samples of it are on the semi ring porous page. The Rhus species can be a hard call because at first glance they all pretty much look ring porous but when you look closer you realize that in some of them the transition from large earlywood pores to small latewood pores is not as abrupt as one normally expects with ring porous. Some of them (my sample of Rhus ovata on the semi ring porous page in particular) really appear as much diffuse porous as they do semi ring porous and definitely are not ring porous.








    OTHER ring porous hardwoods