Xylem Development in Trees: From Cambial Divisions to Mature Wood Cells

  • Jörg FrommEmail author
Part of the Plant Cell Monographs book series (CELLMONO, volume 20)


As one of the major parts of the biosphere, trees will play a significant role in the near future because of an increasing demand for wood as the most important natural raw material. Wood is generated by the vascular cambium and enables water transportation as well as providing mechanical support to the tree. Furthermore, it is the main renewable source for paper, buildings, furniture, boards and fuel. In recent decades intriguing developments in cell, molecular and structural biology have led to an integrated view of wood formation, from its start in the cambium by cell division, via cell expansion and cell wall thickening, to programmed cell death. These complex processes involve the interaction of both exogenous factors, such as photoperiod and temperature, and endogenous regulators, such as phytohormones. In addition, the coordinated expression of the numerous genes implicated in the biosynthesis of the major wood components—cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin—drives the ordered development of wood. The huge amount of literature in the different fields of wood formation cannot be reviewed here in detail; rather, the aim of this chapter is to give a brief overview of the essential steps leading to mature wood cells, with an emphasis on current progress obtained by modern techniques which have increased our understanding of wood formation.


Secondary Wall Cellulose Microfibril Wood Formation Vessel Element Cambial Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Wood BiologyUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany

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