THE BUR OAK.
Q. macrocarpa, Alichx.
The bur oak (see illustration, page 39) is called the mossy cup on account of the loose, fringed scales about the rim of the cup that holds the large acorn—largest in the whole oak family. Often the nut is completely enclosed by the cup; often it is small. This variable fruit is sweet, and it is the winter store of many furry wood-folk.
The leaf has the rounded lobing of the family, with the special peculiarity of being almost cut in two by a pair of deep and wide opposite sinuses, between the broad middle, and the narrow, tapering base. Not all leaves show this odd form, but it is the prevailing pattern. The dark green blade has a pale, fuzzy lining, that lasts until the leaves turn brown and yellow.
The bur oak is a rugged, ragged tree, compared with the white oak. Its irregular form is picturesque, its wayward limbs are clothed in a loose garment of untidy, half-shed bark. The twigs are roughened with broad, corky wings.
The trunk is brownish, with loosened flakes of gray, sep arated by shallow fissures.
The wood is classed with white oak, though darker in color. It has the same ornamental mirrors, dear to the heart of the cabinet-maker. It serves all the purposes for which a tough, strong, durable wood is needed.
The range of the species is from Nova Scotia to Mon tana, and it grows in large tracts from Winnipeg to Texas, doing well in the arid soil of western Nebraska and Dakota. Suckers from the roots spread these trees till they form the "oak openings" of the bluffs of the Missouri and other streams of Iowa and Minnesota. In Kansas it is the commonest oak tree. The largest trees of this species grow in rich bottom lands in the Ohio Valley.