The conveners and some speakers at the IAWA Session during the 45th SAAB Conference.

Wood anatomy was one of the focal themes at the 45th Annual Conference of the South African Association of Botanists (SAAB) held on 8-11 January 2019 in the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Pieter Baas and Elisabeth Wheeler attended this meeting as invited speakers: their plenary lectures concerned the analysis of wood anatomical diversity of South African flora in a global context and the trait evolution in fossil woods from Cretaceous to the Pliocene. Apart from that, the IAWA symposium “Wood Anatomy: an African Perspective” had been organized with presentations by seven speakers from five countries (Nigeria, Poland, Russia, South Africa and the USA) and covering highly complementary topics of structural botany, such as: African fossil woods from the Permo-Triassic boundary (M.K. Bamford), secondary woodiness and paedomorphosis (K. Frankiewicz), a new type of cambial variants found in the Malvales (G.Gama), identifiction of woods in cultural heritage artifacts by thermal desorption-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (C. Mallinkrodt), identification of South African medicinal barks (E.L.Kotina and B.-E. van Wyk), function and formation of broad rays in wood and bark (A. Oskolski), and comparative wood anatomy of South African Meliaceae (M.O. Oyedeji-Amusa). This was the second international wood anatomy meeting ever held in Africa. The first one was in Pretoria in 1984. The meeting will hopefully stimulate wood and bark anatomical studies on the African continent with its unique diversity of woody plants and vegetation types.

Alexei Oskolski, Johannesburg