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The Scarlet Oak Q


Q. coccinea, Moench.

The scarlet oak is like a flaming torch set among the dull browns and yellows in our autumnal woods. In spring the opening leaves are red; so are the tasselled catkins and the forked pistils, that turn into the acorns later on. This is a favorite ornamental tree in Europe and our own country. Its points of beauty are not all in its colors.

The tree is slender, delicate in branch, twig, and leaf— quite out of the sturdy, picturesque class in which most oaks belong. The leaf is thin, silky smooth, its lobes sep arated by sinuses so deep that it is a mere skeleton com pared with the black oak's. The trimness of the leaf is matched by the neat acorn, whose scaly cup has none of the looseness seen in the burly black oak. The scales are

smooth, tight-fitting, and they curl in at the rim.

There is lightness and grace in a scarlet oak, for its twigs are slim and supple as a willow's, and the leaves flutter on long, flexible stems. Above the drifts of the first snowfall, the brilliance of the scarlet foliage makes a picture long to be remembered against the blue of a clear autumnal sky.

The largest trees of this species grow in the fertile up lands in the Ohio Valley. But the most brilliant hues are seen in trees of smaller size, that grow in New England woods. In the comparatively dull-hued autumn woods of Iowa and Nebraska the scarlet oak is the most vivid and most admired tree.

tree and leaf