Banner for LabNotes
From Lab Notes
Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


You are here: FPL Home  / Information Products & Services  / Publications

Requested Product

Title: Chapter 06: Identification key

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.

Author(s)Wiedenhoeft, Alex

Publication Year: 2011  View PDF »

Category: Book Chapter

Abstract: 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 Review Process: Formally Refereed

File size: 1,014 kb(s)

Date posted: 10/23/2012

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 62651
Current FPL Scientist associated with this product
Wiedenhoeft, Alex C.
Research Botanist

Additional items that might interest you
View the video celebrating FPL's 100 years of public service in 2010, from the producers of the Greatest Good....view

Research Highlights from FPL....view

Termite Eradication: A search for the Holy Grail.... view

Moisture Management in Residential Construction Series videos...view

Wood Floor Systems in Residential Construction Series videos....view
- FPL's Mission and Strategic Plan -

FPL's mission is to identify and conduct innovative wood and fiber utilization research that contributes to conservation and productivity of the forest resource, thereby sustaining forests, the economy, and quality of life. ... ..more »

- FPL Research Emphasis Areas -
Advanced Composites

As an integral part of the FPL mission, we improve the long-term sustainability of our Nation's forests by creating valuable composite products from biobased materials ... ..more »

Advanced Structures

The FPL has been in the forefront of wood-frame housing research since 1910 and has long been recognized as a world leader in such housing-related areas as engineered wood ... ..more »

Forest Biorefinery

We all know the compelling reasons that the United States needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Historically, the greatest increases in energy demand have been for transportation fuels ... ..more »


A leader in wood products research for over a century, the FPL is positioning itself to become the lead Federal research facility for the application of nanotechnology in forest products ... more »

Woody Biomass Utilization

Forests in the United States contain a substantial amount of small-diameter, overstocked, and underutilized material.FPL research projects are exploring the potential of the small-diameter ... ..more »