Wood is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers (which are strong in tension) embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression. In the strict sense wood is produced as secondary xylem in the stems of trees (and other woody plants). In a living tree it transfers water and nutrients to the leaves and other growing tissues, and has a support function, enabling woody plants to reach large sizes or to stand up for themselves. Wood may also refer to other plant materials with comparable properties, and to material engineered from wood, or wood chips or fiber.
People have used wood for millennia for many purposes, primarily as a fuel or as a construction material for making houses, tools, weapons, furniture, packaging, artworks, and paper. Wood can be dated by carbon dating and in some species by dendrochronology to make inferences about when a wooden object was created. The year-to-year variation in tree-ring widths and isotopic abundances gives clues to the prevailing climate at that time.