Taking a Closer Look at Wood
One of the main differences in hardwood and softwood xylem has to do with very large cells called vessels. Hardwoods have vessels, but softwoods don't.
Here, take a look for yourself!
This first photograph is our picture of spruce (softwood) xylem from the previous page:
And this one is a picture of hardwood xylem:
Can you see the difference between these pictures? Those big dark circles in the hardwood xylem are called vessels!
Vessels are HUGE water-carrying cells! Notice how big the vessels are in comparison to the fibers!
The large, hollow vessels in red oak allow us to blow bubbles through
red oak pieces.