Genus Quercus, L. (Oak)
Leaves - simple; alternate; edge lobed; (edge of the lobes entire or sometimes coarsely notched and hollowed at their ends.) Outline - reverse egg-shape. Apex - of lobes, rounded. Base - wedge-shape. Leaf - quite variable in size and shape; four to seven inches long; smooth; pale beneath; the lobes oftenest five to nine, long and narrow, and sometimes widening toward the end, but at other times only three to five, short and broad, and radiating obliquely from the middle rub. Bark - of trunk, slightly roughened (comparatively smooth for an oak), light-gray; in older trees loosening in large, thin scales; the inner bark white. Acorns - usually in pairs on a stem one fourth of an inch or more in length. Cup - rounded saucer-shape, not scaly, but rough and warty and much shorter than the nut. Nut - three fourths to one inch long, slightly egg-shape or oval; brown, sweet, and edible. October. Found - from Ontario and the valley of the St. Lawrence southward to Florida, and westward to Southeastern Minnesota, Arkansas, and Texas. Its finest growth is on the western slopes of the Alleghany Mountains, and in the Ohio basin. General Information - A noble tree, sixty to eighty feet or more in height, with hard, touch wood of very great value in many kinds of manufacturing, and for fuel. The withered, light-brown leaves often cling throughout the winter. The "oak-apples" or "galls" often found on oak-trees are the work of 'gall-flies" and their larvae. When green tiny worms will usually be found at their centre. Quaint reference is made to these galls in Gerardes' "Herbal": "Oak-apples being broken in sunder before they have an hole thorough them do fore shewe the sequell of the yeere. If they conteine in them a flie, then warre insueth; if a creeping worme, then scarcitie of victuals; if a running spider, then followeth great sickness or mortalitie." The oak, probably more than any other tree, has been associated with workshop of the gods. The "Talking Tree" of the sanctuary in Dodona (the oldest of all the Hellenic sanctuaries, and second in repute only to that at Delphi) was an oak. Oak groves were favorite places for altars and temples of Jupiter. The Druids worshipped under the oak-trees. Quercus, possible from a Celtic word meaning to inquire, because it was among the oaks that the Druids oftenest practised their rites.