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The word “xylem” is derived from classical Greek ξυλον, xylon, “wood,” and indeed the best known xylem tissue is wood. A xylarium is a collection of authenticated wood specimens that is well-curated and accessible to the scientific community.

The Peiffer Xylarium is unique among wood collections because it includes specimens that have their leaves, fruit, and scientific and common names lasered into the surface of the wood. The Peiffer Xylarium, established in 2006, is a unique, fledgling collection when compared to about one million xylarium specimens in worldwide collections:

The USDA Forest Products Laboratory of Madison, Wisconsin, has the world’s largest xylarium collection of about 98,000 specimens.
The Oxford Forestry Institute Xylarium in the UK has about13% of the world wood specimens mainly wood of former British colonies.
The Belgian Taxonomic facility contains 60,000 specimens specializing in African woods. www.metafro.be/xylarium
The University of Leningrad has the oldest collection, established in 1823.


The collection began with 117 specimens catalogued in the Peiffer Xylarium. These vary in size from ½´´ to 3´´ wide, ½´´ to 7´´ long, and 1/16´´ to ½´´ thick. All these are from commercial collections and some are very exotic. In September 2006, 75 specimens were added from the personal collection of Dr. Randel A. Peiffer, Associate Professor in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Delaware State University. The Peiffer collection unique is unique because of the lasered botanical art work.

Each added specimen is:

authenticated by the collector, and the county and state, or country in which the specimens were collected is noted.

3” wide x 12” tall x ¾" thick and the display surface is laser-carved with the:

FAMILY name, Genus and species name, and common name, leaves and fruit.

identified by a collection number which is stamped into both end surfaces.

Dr. Peiffer collected and milled the 75 newly added wood specimens as a hobby and to
supplement the Dendrology Course (Study of Trees) taught in the department from 1988-2005
by Adjunct Professor Charles J. Newlon, USDA Forest Service retired.

The project of adding original art work to each specimen began in August 2006.
The art work and layout are being created by Barbara J. Newlon.
A grant by Dr. Peiffer has helped to assure the preparation and art work for additional samples acquired in the next year or so.

The specimens of the entire Peiffer Xylarium are intended for display, scientific research, teaching, environmental education and other Herbarium programs. The goal is to continue collecting wood specimens, and whenever possible provide 3´´ wide x 12´´ tall x ¾´´ thick specimens to allow space for lasered art work, and to provide a vouchered herbarium specimen from the actual tree cut. Knowing the challenges of the latter goal, we welcome future donations especially in the 3´´ x 12´´ x ¾´´ size, with or without the backup herbarium specimen.

Additional non-commercial contributors to the Peiffer Xylarium to date include:
Jack Boone
Charles J. Newlon
D. Lee Cromley
Ray Piper
Harry Hunter
Robert Piper
Theodore La May
Ruth Smith
Duncan R. McCabe
Art Tucker