Vestures are defined as mostly branched or irregularly shaped protuberances on the inner surface of the secondary wall of wood incIuding the surface of the wall lining the pit cavity. Based on a survey of literature, vestures in softwoods and hardwoods are discussed. Data on the chemical composition, ontogeny and possible functions are limited and partly contradictory. A preliminary list of dicotyledonous families is given in which vestures have been reported to occur. No general morphological cIassification of the different types of vestures (and 'warts') has been accepted at present. The taxonomie and diagnostic value of this polyphyletic character can be considerable but should be evaluated for each individual taxonomie group. It is not cIear whether all types of vestures and warts are homologous; both structures remain poorly understood.