Swamp White Oak
=Habitat and Range.=--In deep, rich soil; low, moist, fertile
grounds, bordering swamps and along streams.
Quebec to Ontario, where it is known as the blue oak.
Maine,--York county; New Hampshire,--Merrimac valley as far as the mouth
of the Souhegan, and probably throughout Rockingham county;
Vermont,--low grounds about Lake Champlain; Massachusetts,--frequent in
the western and central
sections, common eastward; Rhode Island and
South to Delaware and along the mountains to northern Georgia; west
to Minnesota, Iowa, east Kansas, and Arkansas.
=Habit.=--A medium-sized tree, 40-60 feet high, with a trunk diameter of
2-3 feet; attaining southward of the Great Lakes and in the Ohio basin
much greater dimensions; roughest of all the oaks, except the bur oak,
in general aspect; trunk erect, continuous, in young trees often beset
at point of branching with down-growing, scraggly branchlets, surmounted
by a rather regular pyramidal head, the lower branches horizontal or
declining, often descending to the ground, with a short, stiff,
abundant, and bushy spray; smaller twigs ridgy, widening beneath buds;
foliage a dark shining green; heads of large trees less regular, rather
open, with a general resemblance to the head of the white oak, but
narrower at the base, with less contorted limbs.
=Bark.=--Bark of trunk and larger branches thick, dark grayish-brown,
longitudinally striate, with flaky scales; bark of young stems,
branches, and branchlets darker, separating in loose scales which curl
back, giving the tree its shaggy aspect; season's shoots
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds brown, roundish-ovate, obtuse. Leaves
simple, alternate, 3-8 inches long, 2-4 wide, downy on both sides when
unfolding, at maturity thick and firm, smooth and dark shining green
above, slightly to conspicuously whitish-downy beneath, in autumn
brownish-yellow; obovate, coarsely and deeply crenate or obtusely
shallow-lobed, when opening sometimes pointed and tapering to a
wedge-shaped base, often constricted near the center; leafstalk short;
stipules linear, soon falling.
=Inflorescence.=--May. Sterile catkins 2-3 inches long, thread hairy;
calyx deeply 3-7-parted, pale yellow, hairy; stamens 5-8; anthers
yellow, glabrous: pistillate flowers tomentose, on rather long, hairy
peduncles; stigmas red.
=Fruit.=--Variable, on stems 1-3 inches long, maturing the first season,
single or frequently in twos: cup rounded, rather thin, deep, rough to
mossy, often with fringed margins: acorn about 1 inch long,
oblong-ovoid, more or less tapering: meat sweet, edible.
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; grows in any good
soil, wet or dry, but prefers a position on the edge of moist or boggy
land, where its roots can find a constant supply of water; growth fairly
rapid; seldom affected by insects or disease; occasionally offered by
nurserymen and rather less difficult to transplant than most of the
oaks. Its sturdy, rugged habit and rich dark green foliage make it a
valuable tree for ornamental plantations or even for streets.
1. Winter buds.
2. Flowering branch.
3. Sterile flower, side view.
4. Sterile flower, front view.
5. Fertile flowers.
6. Fruiting branch.
=Quercus Prinus, L.=