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ancientlifecaptor

Angiosperm or Gymnosperm wood? petrified wood ID

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ancientlifecaptor

Hello everyone! Here I have seven pieces of petrified wood that I need your help to identify what types of wood they may be and possibly where they might come from. I unfortunately do not have any information on where they came from and what their age is. I’ve had these pieces for many years and have always wondered about what kinds of wood they once were. I purchased them from a souvenir shop in a family theatre in Tawas city, Michigan. They were sold as “Petrified wood”. The shop had many beautiful rock and mineral specimens for sale and they were selling many more pieces of petrified wood each year. I first assumed that they were from the well-known Chinle formation in Arizona, Yet I later noticed that these pieces are different and realized that there are many other formations throughout the country that bear petrified forests from varying ages. These pieces of petrified wood are beiger and darker compared to the often red and colorful crystal characteristics of Arizona wood. The vascular pore-like texture on the ends of my pieces are what stood out to me and I have a feeling that they might be that of fossilized Angiosperm wood. If so, they might be from anywhere between the Miocene Epoch to the Eocene epoch. Yet, I am completely not certain and I need your help (if possible) to ID what wood type these pieces are (Angiosperm or Gymnosperm wood) and hopefully any ideas or clues of where they may be from and of their age.

Take a close look at all of the pictures of these pieces to see the details. Zoom in if necessary. I hope they are helpful and let me know if you need better quality pictures.              

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ancientlifecaptor

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Edited by ancientlifecaptor

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ancientlifecaptor

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ancientlifecaptor

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ynot

In order to identify wood You have to look at the cellular structures and their relations to each other.

You will need polished sections that show the cross section of the rings and cuts parallel and perpendicular to the core.

You then have to look at the features and their relations under magnification.

.

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paleoflor

The "large" pores point in the direction of hardwood for Specimen A, but it is difficult to be certain based on unpolished surfaces and without being given a real sense of scale.

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Rockwood

ynot is absolutely correct.

If you don't mind just a general sense of what the odds are, I would say gymnosperm is your best bet on the first one, and likely the majority of the rest.

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paleoflor

Well, haha, I guess the contrasting responses of Rockwood and myself only serve to underscore Tony's remark that polished sections are much needed.

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Rockwood
6 minutes ago, paleoflor said:

The "large" pores point in the direction of hardwood for Specimen A

Not to a person cutting his winters firewood. Looks more like a fir than a maple.

@paleoflor has the experience with the petrified stuff though.

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paleoflor
2 minutes ago, Rockwood said:

Not to a person cutting his winters firewood. Looks more like a fir than a maple.

@paleoflor has the experience with the petrified stuff though.

I am looking at the photos on my phone in the train, not the best device for looking at microstructures. You might be right here. I would like to have a better idea of the scale of the images first.

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ynot

Pore size is a poor indicator of type of wood, they are to variable genus to genus, and there is overlap between angi and geno.

 

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paleoflor
1 hour ago, ynot said:

Pore size is a poor indicator of type of wood, they are to variable genus to genus, and there is overlap between angi and geno.

 

Depends of what you mean with "pores". Hardwoods and softwoods are distinguished by a respective presence and absence of vessel elements. The term "pores" is generally used to refer to these vessel elements (e.g. Conners, 2015). Hardwoods are even referred to as porous woods (e.g. Hoadley, 1990) and terms like ring-porous and diffuse porous are used to further subdivide the hardwoods. By contrast, tracheids are usually not referred to as pores, despite their appearance as small holes in cross-section. Under this definition, softwoods do not have pores at all. However, nomenclatural stuff aside, you are absolutely right that it is difficult to discriminate between pores and large tracheids with confidence on the basis of these photographs. At first I thought I saw bands with and without "large holes" (e.g. lower right corner of first/second photograph), suggesting they are pores, and hence my initial answer. On second view, however, the "large holes" also appear quite well-arranged into rows (e.g. near arrow in first photograph), suggesting they could be tracheids (if the rows are oriented parallel to the rays), in support of Rockwood's assessment. Looking at the photographs on my PC now, only adds doubt. Like you said, better photographs (ideally of oriented sections) are needed, and a sense of scale would also help.

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ynot
1 hour ago, paleoflor said:

Depends of what you mean with "pores". Hardwoods and softwoods are distinguished by a respective presence and absence of vessel elements. The term "pores" is generally used to refer to these vessel elements (e.g. Conners, 2015). Hardwoods are even referred to as porous woods (e.g. Hoadley, 1990) and terms like ring-porous and diffuse porous are used to further subdivide the hardwoods. By contrast, tracheids are usually not referred to as pores, despite their appearance as small holes in cross-section. Under this definition, softwoods do not have pores at all. However, nomenclatural stuff aside, you are absolutely right that it is difficult to discriminate between pores and large tracheids with confidence on the basis of these photographs. At first I thought I saw bands with and without "large holes" (e.g. lower right corner of first/second photograph), suggesting they are pores, and hence my initial answer. On second view, however, the "large holes" also appear quite well-arranged into rows (e.g. near arrow in first photograph), suggesting they could be tracheids (if the rows are oriented parallel to the rays), in support of Rockwood's assessment. Looking at the photographs on my PC now, only adds doubt. Like you said, better photographs (ideally of oriented sections) are needed, and a sense of scale would also help.

Yep, that sums it up nicely!

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ancientlifecaptor

Update:

Hey guys, I apologize for the photographs. they are of poor quality due to the fact that I was trying to fit them on this file while uploading. the original pictures were too large to upload here. I recommend clicking on my facebook page link (https://www.facebook.com/pg/Fossil-collection-1812330865540815/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1814184768688758 ) to view the photos at their best quality, so that you can see the details much better. Some of the specimens have small wood knots and vascular pores on the ends of where they broke. All the pieces range from 8.5 centimeters to 19 centimeters in length. I definitely agree that slicing a thin half to polish it to view under a microscope is the best way to determine what kind of wood it was. 

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paleoflor

Sorry, I don't use Facebook.

What size are the "vascular pores" you mention? What is the width of Specimen A as seen in the first close-up pictures?

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ancientlifecaptor

From what I measured, Each of the vascular pores are at least 0.142 millimeters in diameter. The width of specimen A. is 3.5 centimeters (the close up of the widest end).  

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