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[sap-woo d] /ˈsæpˌwʊd/
noun, Botany
the softer part of the wood between the inner bark and the heartwood.
Also called alburnum.
1785-95; sap1 + wood1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sapwood
  • sapwood is the layer of wood inside the bark and cambium that contains living xylem cells and is physiologically active.
  • The width of the sapwood varies with species and tree vigor.
  • sapwood and heartwood make up the bulk of the tree trunk.
  • sapwood is usually lighter in color, but it darkens with age and becomes heartwood.
  • The galleries that cut into the outer sapwood do not have much impact on water movement in the tree.
  • Free of heart center means that the post is cut from the heartwood or sapwood with the pith excluded.
  • Destructive sampling will be used for estimating leaf area and sapwood cross-sectional area along the tree bole.
  • Increment coring will be used to estimate sapwood area and leaf area index of stands.
  • The fungus moves into the tree, and infects the sapwood.
  • The outer layers of the wood of a tree, known as sapwood, are the live part of the wood.
British Dictionary definitions for sapwood


the soft wood, just beneath the bark in tree trunks, that consists of living tissue Compare heartwood
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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sapwood in Science
The younger layers of new wood produced by the interior side of the vascular cambium within a tree trunk. Sapwood is active in the conduction of water and is usually lighter in color than heartwood.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for sapwood

outer, living layers of the secondary wood of trees, which engage in transport of water and minerals to the crown of the tree. The cells therefore contain more water and lack the deposits of darkly staining chemical substances commonly found in heartwood. Sapwood is thus paler and softer than heartwood and can usually be distinguished in cross sections, as in tree stumps, although the proportions and distinctness of the two types are variable in different species

Learn more about sapwood with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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