Charcoal anatomy of Brazilian species. I. Anacardiaceae



Anthracological studies are firmly advancing in the tropics during the last decades. The theoretical and methodological bases of the discipline are well established. Yet, there is a strong demand for comparative reference material, seeking for an improvement in the precision of taxonomic determination, both in palaeoecological and palaeoethnobotanical studies and to help preventing illegal charcoal production. This work presents descriptions of charcoal anatomy of eleven Anacardiaceae species from six genera native to Brazil (Anacardium occidentale, Anacardium parvifolium, Astronium graveolens, Astronium lecointei, Lithrea molleoides, Schinus terebenthifolius, Spondias mombin, Spondias purpurea, Spondias tuberosa, Tapirira guianensis, and Tapirira obtusa). They are characterized by diffuse-porous wood, vessels solitary and in multiples, tyloses and spiral thickenings sometimes present; simple perforation plates, alternate intervessel pits, rounded vessel-ray pits with much reduced borders to apparently simple; parenchyma paratracheal scanty to vasicentric; heterocellular rays, some with radial canals and crystals; septate fibres with simple pits. These results are quite similar to previous wood anatomical descriptions of the same species or genera. Yet, charcoal identification is more effective when unknown samples are compared to charred extant equivalents, instead of to wood slides.

Key words:
anthracology; archaeobotany; charcoal; palaeoecology; environmental conservation; wood anatomy

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