Xylarium is a collection of authenticated wood specimens that is well-curated and accessible to the scientific community. Xylarium is mainly intended to display the wood collections for scientific research, teaching, environmental education and other xylarium programmes. The word 'xylarium' has been originated from Greek word 'xylon' meaning 'wood' and is used as 'wood collection with proven and certified accuracy'. Wood collections may seem to be primarily of interest to wood anatomists, botanists, and foresters, but they hold specimens and information applicable to many other fields such as antiques, furniture restoration, forensic timber identification, history, ecology, palaeontology, archaeology, conservation biology, dendroecology, and climate change studies, etc. As a service to the wood anatomical community, these collections will provide sectioning blocks for research projects, especially systematic wood anatomical studies, wood identification, etc. Since India is a net importer of industrial wood from abroad and most of the species are unfamiliar to the user agencies nor to the common man, proper diagnostics of the timber species signifies the importance of xylarium in recent times especially those CITES listed species.
KFRI xylarium was established in the year 1979 and has a collection of 612 specimens (136 timbers from Kerala, India belonging to 70 genera including 19 species of the climbing palm, Calamus (canes), and the rest are obtained on a mutual exchange basis from 14 foreign countries. The xylarium database has detailed records, family name, species name, original wood specimen no. (original wood specimen no. for specimens obtained from other xylarium; collection date, collector(s) name, herbarium no. of the voucher specimen, country, altitude, latitude, longitude, habit, habitat, various notes, and note on collection or accession. For every wood specimen, a corresponding voucher herbarium specimen is deposited in the KFRI Herbarium with the same accession number except for the foreign wood samples collected on an exchange basis. The dimension of the KFRI xylarium samples is 10x 6x1 cm for small specimens and for larger specimens, the dimension is 16x 10x2 cm following the international standard. The Xylarium of KFRI has been indexed in the IAWA Index Xylariorum 4.1 (2016) - a directory of Institutional Wood Collections from around the World. With a view to increasing the diversity of wood samples, KFRI has few xylarium samples (Indian species) available for mutual exchange excluding permanent slides.
Our scientists Drs. K.M. Bhat, Nazma, K.V. Bhat, P.K. Thulasidas, and N. Sasidharan have contributed to the collection and enrichment of xylarium in KFRI.