In Progress

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20 November 2010
Support InsideWood by buying a 2011 Calendar "Plants With a Past. Inside Ancient Woods." Calendar features photomicrographs of fossil woods and gives dates for Arbor Days around the world.

Support the International Association of Wood Anatomists by buying the photobook "Beauty In Wood."

9 March 2010
    Now available:
"The Middle Miocene Wood Flora from Vantage, Washington" by Elisabeth A. Wheeler and Thomas A. Dillhoff. lAW A Journal, Supplement 7. 101 pp., including 37 plates. Paperback. Published by the International Association of Wood Anatomists (IAWA).
     EUR 13 / US$ 20 for IAWA members, EUR 20 / US$ 28 for non-members, + shipping and handling.

ABSTRACT: The Tertiary floras of the Columbia Plateau, western U.S.A., are among the richest in the world. The ~ 15.5 million year old Vantage Forest conserved in the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, Washington, U.S.A., is North America's single most diverse locality for fossil woods. Thirty-four angiosperm and six gymnosperm wood types are described and figured in this publication, making it a particularly valuable reference for anyone studying Tertiary fossil woods or the history of Northern Hemisphere vegetation.
     For more information download This PDF, which includes a copy of the cover photo.
     Download an ORDER FORM. [1 MB]

7 January 2010
Beginning 2010 with 5,833 Modern Wood descriptions and 34,201 Modern Wood images and 1,602 Fossil Wood descriptions and 1,976 Fossil Wood images

This year will be trying to fill in gaps, hope to get images for descriptions currently without images. Visiting Harvard wood collection later this month to return fossil wood samples, and will have a shopping list for species needing images that I hope to photograph while there. Still working on checking names, this past month found that could tie some Utrecht and CSIRO images to descriptions - as images originally not matched to descriptions because of variant spellings or names used for images were synonyms for species with descriptions. Wondering about whether to combine some descriptions or not, the ones that reflect different literature sources for the same species, and the ones for different species with information from different literature sources, but the species seem to have identical anatomies.

11 June 2009
FOSSIL DICOT WOOD NAMES book just printed. To get a copy for yourself and/or your library use the order form for "Fossil Dicot Wood Names" (pdf). For other IAWA special publications and IAWA membership use this order form (pdf). . Text we'll use to advertise this publication is below.

Fossil dicot wood names ¿ an annotated list with full bibliography.
M. Gregory, I. Poole, E. A. Wheeler. 2009. IAWA Journal, Supplement 6. 220 pp.

This publication represents the most comprehensive list available for generic and specific names of fossil dicot woods, giving synonyms, geological ages and geographical sources. It is an invaluable resource for palaeobotanists and systematists doing evolutionary, palaeoenvironmental, or palaeogeographic studies. Names are listed by family and include all those that have appeared in print, whether validly published or not, as well as names from unpublished theses.

A valuable feature of this publication is the inclusion of any subsequent changes in taxonomic placement of specimens, with associated cross-referencing under families. In addition to publications with the original diagnosis of a species, references describing additional specimens of that species are cited. Surveys, keys, and fossil dicot woods of questionable affinity and not assigned generic names but to wood types are also listed. A bibliography of more than 1300 references accompanies this annotated list with over 3300 entries.

31 March 2009

The NSF grant ended 31 December 2008, and the final report has been submitted.

We need to find some way to raise at least $1,000 - $2,000 per year so that we can contract with Cristyn to keep InsideWood compatible with changes in web browsers over time and to finish and deploy some other changes she had started to make site more robust. Any suggestions? One thing we had thought about was asking for donations to be made to the Friends of the Library and having the donations earmarked for InsideWood. Another thought is to try for a grant to get a softwood database up and then the programming fixes could be tended to in that context, but not sure what agency to ask for money. I'm not that keen on writing another full-blown grant application to NSF and, of course, probability of getting money is ???.

30 September 2008

Cristyn Kells and Shirley Rodgers have rewritten the program and added some functions that have been requested by different users. The major 2008 additions are:
    1) Ability to search for modern and/or fossil dicot woods
    2) Browsing by family or genus or keyword searching yields lists showing taxa with descriptions only, taxa with descriptions and images, and taxa with images only.
    3) Ability to export search results as tab-delimited files; if you allowed mismatches when searching, for each taxon in the results the number of mismatches it has with the description you used AND the mismatched features for that taxon are shown.
     4) Short definitions and some images of IAWA features accessible from the Menus. Note: these are to serve as reminders, it is important to have a copy of the IAWA Hardwood List. If you need a copy, go to the IAWA (International Association of Wood Anatomists) web page and you'll find an order form in the IAWA Journal, Special Publications section.

Today(30 September 2008) the InsideWood database has 7,338 descriptions and 34,326 images.
    5,760 Modern Wood descriptions and 33,056 Modern Wood images.
    1,578 Fossil Wood descriptions and 1,270 Fossil Wood images.
Additions over the last two years include digital photomacrographs from L.Y.T. Westra (Utrecht University); scans of large format negatives from the Royal Museum of Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium (negatives sent by Hans Beeckman), digital images of African woods described by PROTA (Alice Campbell and Peter Gasson, Kew, U.K.), and images of assorted North America fossil woods and modern woods of families likely to occur in the fossil record of western North America (Elisabeth Wheeler, NCSU). Content continues to be edited, using recent literature and observations of sections.


    Poster (206 KB pdf) on InsideWood presented at International Organization of Palaeobotanists, Bonn, Germany, August 2008.
    Publication: Wheeler, E.A., P. Baas, & S. Rodgers. 2007. Variations in dicot wood anatomy: A global analysis based on the InsideWood database. IAWA Journal 28 (3): 229-258. (360 KB pdf)
    Slides for Botany 2007 presentation "Wood Anatomical Correlations and The Fossil Record For Dicot Woods" as part of symposium in honor of Sherwin Carlquist, Chicago, July 2007. (9.6 MB pdf)
    Slides for Botany 2006 presentation "Variations in Wood Anatomy. Past and Present" (1.5 MB pdf)

Manuscripts in preparation 1) an analysis of the fossil dicot wood database and changes in wood structure through time, 2) monograph of the Middle Miocene Vantage woods (with T.A. Dillhoff), 3) new Cretaceous and Paleocene woods from Big Bend National Park, TX with comments on the general characteristics of Cretaceous angiosperm woods (with Tom Lehman, Texas Tech), 4) woods of the Fagales (with Steve Manchester).

5 May 2006

As of today, there are 24,530 images available through the Insidewood web site. New additions include more digital photomacrographs from L.Y.T. Westra (Utrecht University); scans of large format negatives from the Royal Museum of Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium, courtesy of Hans Beeckman; some 500 digital photographs of commercially important woods from Hans Georg Richter, Institut für Holzbiologie, Universität Hamburg, Germany.

We have reviewed and created metadata for images resulting from scans of negatives loaned by Steve Manchester, University of Florida (primarily of Anacardiaceae, Juglandaceae, and Malvaceae because these are families represented in the fossil woods of the Eocene Clarno Nut Beds).

Sherwin Carlquist has started sending negatives for scanning. Given that he has been and continues to be incredibly productive and has collected and examined specimens of 'unusual' families (e.g. Maleshbariaceae), it is very satisfying to be able to archive these images and make them generally available. The first 300 are ready for derivatives and these should be on-line by June. Suzanne Snider and Sarah Schwarzer are finding these negatives easy to scan and process and are enjoying the variety of anatomical details.

We're also creating digital images of both modern and fossil woods, especially those of the Fagales, Ulmaceae, Cannabaceae, and the Project I woods (woods of U.S.).

Over 3500 images from FFPRI, Tsukuba, Japan, (courtesy of Shuichi Noshiro) are now archived on a DH Hill Library server, metadata are ready, and once jpeg derivatives are made, they will be loaded.

This seems never-ending. We have worked through the descriptions and the images (Zygophyllaceae to Acanthaceae), and, when it seemed appropriate, used the cataloging interface to tie images to descriptions, and add information to the descriptions. The number of descriptions has decreased since January 2006. This is because when trying to update names and check synonymies, duplicate descriptions were found and then deleted. Also, some descriptions for "sp" were for genera that had been revised, some dismembered, some submerged and seemed to have lost credibility, it seemed best to delete those descriptions (which had many 'unknown' features).

The original Oxford feature list did not record whether a species was a tree, shrub, or vine, so time has been spent working on verifying habits. Time has also been spent determining whether species occur in some or all of the geographic area 'subsets.' I (ew) made a good faith effort to deal with this, and am amazed by the number of helpful sites for tackling this problem (e.g., GRIN-taxonomy, Missouri Botanic Garden's Tropicos -- looking at the collection details for habit information, the taxonomic treatments published on the National Herbarium of the Netherlands sites)

We are beginning to work on moving to the APG system, and using the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website to do so.
"Stevens, P. F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 6, May 2005 [and more or less continuously updated since]."

New information and new descriptions are being added, including descriptions based on Pearson, R.S. & H.P. Brown. 1932. Commercial Timbers of India. Their Distribution, Supplies, Anatomical Structure, Physical and Mechanical Properties and Uses. Volumes I. II. and observations of woods of Ulmaceae, Cannabaceae, and Fagales.

The fossil wood database is now in an Excel file format. Some 1500 images of U.S. fossil woods are archived and have metadata. We are translating the fossil wood database so that the numbers used for anatomical features will be the same for both databases, and working on how best to make it possible to search either the fossil wood database or the modern wood database, or both at the same time. This last option should be useful to fossil wood workers, who are interested in which modern and fossil woods share the features of the 'unknown' fossil wood.

20 January 2006

Shuichi Noshiro, FFPRI, Tsukuba, Japan, is preparing to send us digitized images of Japanese woods to add. The samples photographed are all vouchered, and cross, radial, and tangential sections are shown. This will be a subset of the images at the FFPRI site [].

We've been working backwards from the Z families to the A families to try to update names and show synonymies, to tie descriptions to images when possible, and to delete some duplicate description. Today have made it to the Caesalpinoideae-Leguminosae. The Malvales and Proteaceae especially need more work. When we make it back to the beginning of the database, we are going to write a short paper detailing database content and the distribution and correlation of some features. The Madagascar woods described by Pierre Detienne will be compared to mainland Africa woods.

Descriptions of Indian woods are being added or modified based on Pearson and Brown's classic two volume work.

5 December 2005

We've been fortunate to receive a second grant from NSF (Wood Identification Database Enhancement: Descriptions and Images of Fossil and Modern Woods, DBI-0518386, 1 August 2005-30 July 2007). This grant will support preparing the fossil wood database for web delivery and adding more images to the InsideWood web site.

Still ongoing, continuing to go through the database checking the habit and geographic source of species and comparing the description to the linked image, when possible, removing the "?" for some features.

Just done: the original Oxford Card data had Australia and New Zealand lumped together as one region, so that the geographic data for many of the woods from this area of the world were translated into IAWA coding of 175 176? 177?. We've been working to eliminate the "?" so that woods from New Zealand are coded 175 177; woods from Australia coded 175 176.

We're trying, but it is going to take a considerable investment of time to deal with nomenclatural changes and synonymies. Eventually we hope to have family names and composition comply with APG II. However, for now, the correcting of descriptive data and the addition of images has priority for us, and name changes will be done in conjunction with the editing of the anatomical descriptions. We hope visitors to the site realize that species and genus descriptions are probably best retrieved by searching by keyword or browsing by genus. For example, if someone wants to find a genus of the recently expanded Salicaceae, which now includes genera that used to be Flacourtiaceae, they need to do a search by genus as we haven't yet broken up the Flacourtiaceae. There are similar "problems" with Loganiaceae, Buddlejaceae, Bonnettiaceae, Guttiferae, Clusiaceae, Hypericaceae.

Frederic Lens sent over 750 digital photographs of Ericalean woods. These are a particularly valuable addition as they complement the descriptive data taken from his PhD work at Leuven.

L.Y.T. Westra, Utrecht University, is preparing digital photomacrographs of cross sections of woods in the Utrecht Wood Collection (Uw). 107 of his images are available through the Luna Insight tool.

Scans of b/w 35 mm negatives taken by Bep Mennega, Jifke Koek-Noorman, Ben ter Welle, and Tina Baretta-Kuipers, Utrecht University, are completed, metadata for them is being reviewed. These c. 800 images are now available on the site.

Regis Miller, USDA Center for Wood Anatomy Research, Madison, is continuing to send negatives and photographs of images of "Flacourtiaceae" and Sapotaceae. These will be scanned and add to the site by the end of the year.

Williams León, Laboratorio de Anatomía de Maderas, Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, Venezeula, is sending digital images of Venezuelan woods, metadata for them needs to be prepared.

Hans Beeckman, Tervuren, is sending large format b/w negatives, these are being reviewed, scanned, and metadata is being prepared

31 MAY 2005

13,000 images are now loaded into Luna Insight, and can be browsed through the InsideWood site. By the end of June we anticipate adding approximately 1,000 more. (including scans of 35 mm negatives from Bep Mennega, Regis Miller, and Jijke Koek-Noorman).

We are working on how best to use the APG II classification scheme and still allow browsing by the Brummitt classification. Editing is ongoing, as is tying of the images to descriptions in IAWA feature numbers.

12 APRIL 2005

There are over 20,000 digital images archived on the NCSU Library servers that will become available on this site. Approximately 6,000 of these images are from the National Herbarium of The Netherlands, Utrecht University Branch. The rest are scans of existing 35 mm black and white negatives and color transparencies or original digital photographs. We have been scanning the 35 mm black and white and color transparencies at 2400 dpi for archival purposes. We are continuing to add images. Each image is accompanied by information on the creator of the image, species, sample number, view, objective lens used. Luna Insight will be used to display the images. As of today 5,310 images have been loaded into Luna and we (we being Troy Simpson and Shirley Rodgers) are making good progress with programming how the images will be displayed with the descriptions. We are preparing text to explain how to use Luna to view the photomicrographs.

The number of images donated to the project has exceeded our expectations. Scanning them and preparing their metadata (which includes verifying species names with the help of IPNI and reference to the Missouri Botanic Garden's Tropicos site) has taken considerable time. We think it important to archive this material, which includes photographs taken during systematic wood anatomical studies, but not before made publicly available.

All the InsideWood images have unique and standardized specimen identifiers, allowing tracking of every single sample for researchers interested in further study. We have retained a consistent format using a two-part identification, with collection abbreviation plus sample number. In some cases photographed specimens were identified by unique collection and species but without a unique serial number. We have tried to be consistent and have given these identifications using abbreviations for their original or informal collection name plus a serial abbreviation based on the genus and species. For example, "Kw newt.buch" refers to an unnumbered specimen of Newtonia buchananii in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew wood collection [Kw].

Some specimens cataloged in host collections without a serial number are attributed with "s.n." according to the original designations.

Editing is ongoing, including adding information on those IAWA features that did not have equivalents in the Oxford feature list of the GUESS/OPCN database. Comments on anatomical features and information on the species (whether it is cultivated, plant size, habitat, specifics about regional distribution) are being added as the editing continues. Names are being updated when appropriate.

New descriptions are also being added using the literature and original observations, e.g., A.M.W. Mennega's 2005 monograph on the subfamily Euphorbioideae (IAWA Journal 26: 1-68).

Pierre Détienne of CIRAD, Montpellier, France, donated a large number of descriptions for Madagascar woods (451 species). These descriptions were incorporated into the database as of April 1; these data are not published elsewhere.

We now have permission to add definitions of the IAWA features and to scan and use the illustrations from the IAWA List. We hope to have definitions and illustrations available by December 2005. Now, when using the Menus feature, descriptions and example images will be available alongside each group of IAWA anatomical characters.

The 1,500 entry fossil wood database uses a subset of the IAWA features with the addition of broad categories for age and geographic source. It has been reviewed and formatted so that it is similar to the modern wood database. We are adding details on locality and sample size. We had hoped to have this database ready by early summer 2005, but because of the extra work associated with preparing the images of extant wood for display we have not been able to do so.