Another Case for the Wood Detectives

      Woodweb's tree identification team is never afraid to tackle another gnarly log. January 29, 2009

I recently got the log below in and am curious about what type of wood it is. I originally assumed it was elm, as it was brought in with several other elm trees, and a few pecan. After closer inspection, it has some obvious differences than what I'm used to with elm. Can anyone help. Here's what I've noticed.

The bark is much coarser than elm usually is.
The heartwood is reddish with a creamy sapwood.
There is no cambium layer that is usually present in the elm trees we've cut.

Overall the wood texture is about the same as regular elm, and it defiantly has some spalting as is common with elm here.


Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From the original questioner:
Here's another picture of the heartwood of a log of seemingly the same species.



From contributor J:
Where are you located? Here in NC I would guess red maple, acer rubrum, but that may not work where you are.

From the original questioner:
I am in central Texas and we don't have any maple trees here.

From contributor L:
It may be mesquite or willow. Go look where you sawed it and see if there are a bunch of green beetles with black stripes (longhorn beetles). That would be a real good indication of mesquite. They smell mesquite as soon as the blade gets close.

From the original questioner:
I am going to check into info on willow. It sure does match the characteristics of this log, from the pictures I've seen so far. Thanks for the response. Any more info anyone has would be welcome.

From contributor L:
I still say it looks like mesquite to me. Is the wood light or heavy? Pictures can be somewhat deceiving. What is the actual color? Did it saw easy or hard? Mesquite is a lot harder than willow.

From contributor U:
It's definitely not willow. I'm pretty sure it's a silver maple. While not native to Texas, there are plenty of silver maples planted in and around the urban areas. A shot of the leaves would help confirm this. Smell would also help - willow smells like cottonwood.

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