Aspidosperma (Apocynaceae) is composed of trees and shrubs; the genus includes 70 species, 42 of which occur in Brazil. The midwestern region has the second highest diversity, with 30 species, after the northern region, and Mato Grosso do Sul state has 15 species. This study provides macroscopic and microscopic wood features for ten species from A. section Aspidosperma and A. section Pungentia (Apocynaceae) from Mato Grosso do Sul state, Brazil. These characteristics can aid in the identification of Aspidosperma species because the nine species of these two sections have many morphological similarities; moreover, the wood of these species is economically important for timber production. Through macroscopic and microscopic analysis procedures, the characteristics of the wood and the organoleptic properties allowed recognition and distinction of the studied taxa. The characters of diagnostic value for recognition of the sections are vessel frequency and arrangement, and ray width. Individually, each species had a set of characteristics that allowed its identification: wood color; vessel arrangement; vessel length; ray visibility, ray composition and width; presence of crystals, starch grains and lipids in axial and/or ray parenchyma cells. The results may support conscientious exploitation by industries by facilitating the correct identification of the species, and will also help in the detection of illegal timber logging.
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Vol. 46 • No. 1