• Penaeaceae;
  • wood;
  • anatomy;
  • phylogeny;
  • ecology

Wood samples of stems, lignotubers, and roots of the majority of species of Penaeaceae were analyzed with respect to qualitative and quantitative features. Virtually no data have hitherto been presented on xylem features of this family, restricted to Cape Province, South Africa. Presence of vestured pits in vessels, septate crystalliferous parenchyma in wood, intraxylary phloem, predominantly erect ray cells in the typically narrow, multiseriate rays and in the uniseriate rays, and amorphous deposits in ray cells place Penaeaceae securely in Myrtales and help to define that order. By comparison of ecological preferences of the species, as observed during field work, with quantitative analysis of conductive tissue, close correspondence of the wood structure to habit and habitat is demonstrated.