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The Opening Mechanism of Pine Cone Scales

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Measurements of the cone scales of 5 species of pines reveal extra ordinary lengthwise shrinkage from the wet to the dry state. Histological study shows that in longitudinal radial section, a pine cone scale consists of two zones. Dorsally, the cells are principally wood fibers extending from the cone axis; ventrally there is a band of tissue consisting of short rectangular thick-walled cells. Depending upon the species, lengthwise shrinkage of this tissue varies from 10 to 36 percent. Shrinkage of the fibrous portion is negligible. From these data, it might be presumed that fibril orientation in the short rectangular cells would be at right angles to the long axis of the cell. Electron microscope studies support this assumption and show that the micro-fibrils are indeed oriented at 90° to the long axis of the cell. Photomicrographs accompanying this paper illustrate the structural features described.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Technician, Department of Wood Products Engineering, State University College of Forestry at Syracuse University, N. Y.

Publication date: 1964-08-01

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
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    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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