Anatomical characteristics and lignin distribution of ‘compression-wood-like reaction wood’ in Gardenia jasminoides Ellis were investigated. Two coppiced stems of a tree were artificially inclined to form reaction wood (RW). One stem of the same tree was fixed straight as a control, and referred to as normal wood (NW). Excessive positive values of surface-released strain were measured on the underside of RW stems. Anatomical characteristics of xylem formed on the underside of RW and in NW stems were also observed. The xylem formed on the underside exhibited a lack of S3 layer in the secondary fibre walls, an increase of pit aperture angle in the S2 layer, and an increase in lignin content. Some of the anatomical characteristics observed in the underside xylem resembled compression wood in gymnosperms. These results suggest that the increase of microfibril angle in the secondary wall and an increase in lignin content in angiosperms might be common phenomena resembling compression wood of gymnosperms.
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