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Title: Chapter 06: Identification key

Author: Wiedenhoeft, Alex;

Date: 2011

Source: In: Identification of Central American Woods. 2011. Forest Products Society, Madison, WI. Publication #7215-11, ISBN 978-1-892529-58-9. pp. 47-60.

Publication Series: Book Chapter

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: The key is written to guide you through the identification process in the most efficient and accurate way possible. It presents you with a numbered series of questions and asks you to answer them. The answers you provide will be based on your interpretations of the anatomical characters in your unknown specimen and will lead you to a new set of questions. Each time you answer a question and proceed to the next you are one step closer to making an identification. Eventually, the key will direct you to a species description page in Chapter 7 that will provide more detailed information about the wood. The key will not work in the absence of the species description pages; you must go to the suggested species description and compare both the overall pattern and the specific characters of your unknown specimen to the images and text on that page. If your specimen is a good match for the wood on the species description page, you have successfully identified it. If, however, your unknown specimen is a species not included in the key, the images and information on the species description page will not match, and you must conclude that the specimen is not recognized. This will happen from time to time, because no key includes all woods. Let me reiterate that to make a correct identification, the key below must be used with the species description pages for this manual to function properly. Failing to use the species description pages in Chapter 7 would be like traveling by airplane and failing to claim your luggage from the baggage claim at your destination; you would be assuming it arrived at the airport with you, but you would not know.

Keywords: wood identification, hand lens, Central America, Central American woods, commercial timber, pattern recognition, wood identification process, biology of wood, wood anatomy, wood structure, scientific names, loupe, macroscopic, sample preparation, surfacing, cutting, characters, vessels, rays, parenchyma, identification key, species description, similar woods, species summaries, wood collection, wood identification references, InsideWood

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Wiedenhoeft, Alex 2011. Chapter 06: Identification key. In: Identification of Central American Woods. 2011. Forest Products Society, Madison, WI. Publication #7215-11, ISBN 978-1-892529-58-9. pp. 47-60.


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