I took a longer than usual lunch today, mostly on accident. The hilly trail I took was long and the weather was my favorite, overcast and grey. The barks on the white oak shone bright in the grey light.
White oaks are a staple in US forests, with stands in nearly every state east of the Mississippi River. It has a beautiful grain, and is preferred by many for building because it is hardy, dense, and durable.
Identification is easy. The leaves have 7- 9 rounded lobes extending from the center. In the old world, oaks were associated with royalty and strength, and many uniforms, portraits, and furniture were adorned with carvings of oak leaves. The phrase, “mighty oaks from little acorns grow” is a testament to the strength and resilience and esteem of this species.
In autumn, the dark green leaves often turn maroon or burgundy in appearance, which led to patrons asking me on hikes if those trees were red oaks. I’ll take a teaching opportunity when it comes, so I did some leaf matching on the trail.
Though I haven’t tried them myself, the meat from white oak acorns is supposed to be less bitter than those of Red Oaks. If anyone can attest to that, I’d love to know. I’ve often read of Acorn flour, but have never had the time, care, or supply of acorns to grind it myself and find out. Somehow, I think it would make fair pancakes.
If you enjoy reading, follow me on facebook at The Lunchtime Naturalist for my quick posts and pictures on the trail! If you have a special oak tree in your life, let me know in the comments!