Albert Francis Blakeslee.

Trees in winter; their study, planting, care and identification online

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IN NEW ENGLAND — Throughout, more or less common especially
toward the north, local in sections toward the south; Connecticut —
local or occasional except in the southeastern part of the state where
it is rare.

WOOD — Soft, used as a source of gunpowder charcoal and said to be
further valuable because of its durability in water.

Speckled Alder


American Beech.

Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.
F. ferruffinia Ait. ; F. americana Sweet ; F. atropunicea Sudw.

HABIT — A tall tree 50-75 ft. or more in height with a trunk diameter
of l%-4 ft.; in the forest with a tall slender trunk free of branches for
more than half its length; in the open low-branched with numerous
long, slender, widely spreading or drooping branches, forming a sym-
metrical, broad, dense, rounded, oblong or obovate head; roots near the
surface, widely spreading and sending up shoots which often surround
the parent plant with a thicket of small trees.

BARK — Close, smooth, steel-gray; more or less dark mottled and
covered with lichens in the country; in or about cities where lichen
growth is prevented by injurious gases in the air, a clear, lighter bluish-
gray; from the ease with which it is carved, generally adorned with
initials and conventionalized outlines of the human heart. Considering
the uses to which the bark is often put the Beech might well be called
the ^'Valentine Tree."

TWIGS — Slender, somewhat zigzag, smooth, shining, reddish-brown,
becoming gray on older growth. Spray flattish from 2-ranked position
of the buds; slow-growing branchlets numerous, leafy at tips, elongat-
ing each season only a small fraction of an inch, and growing but
slightly in thickness: thus one of the twigs in photograph is 29
years old and had grown only 4i^ inches in length and acquired a
thickness of less than 3 mm. during this time. LENTICELS — numerous,
conspicuous, orange to gray, elongated longitudinally. LEAVES — fre-
quently remaining on tree in winter, pale yellow, oval, sharp-pointed,
with prominent, straight veins, ending in teeth.

L.EAF-SCARS — Small, raised, elliptical to semi-circular. STIPULE-
SCARS — narrow, distinct, nearly encircling twig. BUNDLE-SCARS —
inconspicuous, best seen by cutting surface section, 5 or more in double
row or scattered.

BUDS — Conspicuously long and very slender, 10-20 mm. long, about 5
times as long as wide, gradually tapering to sharp-pointed apex; ter-
minal bud present not conspicuously larger than laterals. BUD-SCALES
— numerous, 10-20 in 4 ranks, increasing in length from base to apex,
reddish-brown, their margins more or less finely hairy and often with
a woolly patch of down at tip, leaving a rather long and distinct set
of scale-scars marking each year's growth.

FRUIT — A stalked bur, densely downy and covered with soft spread-
ing and more or less recurved prickles, 4-valved, splitting to near the
base, remaining on the tree into winter, after the nut has fallen. NUT —
brown, shining, 1.0-1.5 cm. long, 3-sided pyramidal; seed sweet, edible,

COMPARISONS — The long narrow buds and the smooth, bluish-gray
bark of the Beech make it an easy' tree to identify in the winter. The
pale persistent dead leaves in connection with its habit may frequently
be used to distinguish the tree from a distance, the Oaks being about
the only other trees that have a similar retention of their withered
leaves. The European Beech [Fagus sylvatica L.] with weeping and
purpled-leaved varieties is frequently planted for ornament. It has a
darker bark than the American tree but quite closely resembles it.

DISTRIBUTION — Moist, rocky soil. Nova Scotia through Quebec and
Ontario; south to Florida; west to Wisconsin, Missouri, and Texas.

IN NEW ENGLAND — Maine — abundant; New Hampshire — throughout
the state; common on the Connecticut-Merrimac watershed, enters
largely into the composition of the hardwood forests of Coos county;
Vermont — abundant; Massachusetts — in western sections abundant,
common eastward; Connecticut — occasional or frequent, rarely matur-
ing perfect fruit; Rhode Island — common.

WOOD — Hard, strong, tough, very close-grained, not durable, dif-
ficult to season, dark or often light red, with thin nearly white sap-
wood of 20-30 layers of annual growth; largely used in the manufacture
of chairs, shoe lasts, plane stocks, the handles of tools and for fuel.




Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh.
C. sativGj var. americana Sarg. ; C. vesca, var. americana Michx.

HABIT — A large tree, 60-80 ft. in height with trunk diameter of 5-6
ft. or larger; in the forest, trunk tall and slender, in the open, trunk
short and thick generally tapering rapidly from point of branching
into top of tree; lower branches horizontal or declining, often gnarled
and twisted, upper branches arising at a sharper angle, forming a low,
open, broad, spreading, rounded, ovate head often as broad as high.
Young branches tend to bend up from all sides and give an even-edged
outline to the tree as if the head had been trimmed like a round-
topped hedge. The Chestnut, wjien cut, sprouts readily from the stump
and in consequence in wood-lots Chestnut trees are most commonly to
be found in groups of 2-4 or even more surrounding the old stump from
which they originally sprouted. (See plate.)

BARK — On young trunks and branches smooth, reddish-bronze, often
shining; with age broken by shallow fissures into long, broad, flat,
more or less oblique ridges.

TWIGS — Stout, generally straight, greenish-yellow or reddish-brown,
smooth, round or somewhat angled from base and outer edges of leaf-
scars; somewhat swollen at nodes. LENTICELS — Numerous, conspicu-
ous, forming minute, raised, white dots. PITH — 5-pointed, star-shaped.

L.EAF-SCARS — Sometimes distinctly 2-ranked, generally more than
2-ranked. raised, semioval. STIPULE-SCARS — narrow, triangular, often
inconspicuous. BUNDLE-SCARS — scattered, inconspicuous, if leaf-scar
is surface-sectioned bundle-scars are found in two small lateral clus-
ters and a large more or less circular basal cluster,

BUDS — Small, ovate, light to dark chestnut brown, 4-6 mm. long,
often oblique to the leaf-scar; terminal bud generally absent, the end
of the twig being marked by a small scar and the bud at end of twig
being in the axil of the upperruost leaf-scar. BUD-SCALES — 2-3 only
visible, thin-margined.

FRUIT — A large, round bur, sharp-spiny without and hairy within,
opening by 4 valves. Photograph of bur reduced to about i/^ natural
size. NUTS — generally 3 (1-5), dark brown, white-downy at apex,
ovate, flattened where in contact with other nuts; seed — sweet, edible.

COMPARISONS — From the appearance of gnarled old specimens
grown in the open, the Chestnut might be taken for one of the Oaks.
Its pith, further, is star-shaped but its buds are not clustered at ends
of the twigs as in Oaks and have only 2-3 scales visible. At times
the buds of the Chestnut have a 2-ranked arrangement and
in this condition the twigs alone might be confused with
those of the Linden (which see under Comparisons). Since
the tree begins b'^^aring early and the characteristic burs remain on
the ground, the fruit is a valuable winter character. The bark in
middle-aged trees resembles somewhat that of the Red Oak. If the
bark is blazed the wood exposed does not show the short clear lines
r'^nresenting medullary rays in tangential section seen in Oaks under
similar treatment.

DISTRIBUTION — In strong, well-drained soil; pastures, rocky woods,
and hillsides. Ontario, common; south to Delaware, along the moun-
tains to Alabama; west to Michigan, Indiana, and Tennessee.

IN NEW ENGLAND — Maine — southern sections, probably not indi-
genous north of latitude 44° 20'; New Hampshire — Connecticut valley
near the river as far north as Windsor, Vt. ; most abundant in the Mer-
rimac valley south of Concord, but occasional a short distance north-
ward; Vermont — common in the southern sections, especially in the Con-
necticut valley; occasional as far north as Windsor, West Rutland,
Burlington; Massachusetts — rather common throughout the state, but
less frequent near the sea; Connecticut and Rhode Island — common.

W^OOD — Light, soft, not very strong, liable to check and warp in
drying, easily split, durable in contact with the soil, reddish-brown
w^ith thin lighter colored sapwood of 3 or 4 layers of annual growth;
used largely in the manufacture of cheap furniture and in the interior
finish of houses for railroad ties, piling, fence posts, and rails. The
nuts, which are superior to those of the Old World Chestnut in flavor
and sweetness, are gathered in great quantities in the forest and sold
in the cities.





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Quercus alba L.

HABIT — A larg-e tree with average height of 50-75 ft. and trunk
diameter of 1-6 ft., somewhat various in habit, tending in the open
to show a broad outline, sometimes 2-3 times as broad as high, with
short trunk and lower limbs horizontal or declined, characteristically
gnarled and twisted.

BARK — Light gray or nearly white, whence its name; broken by
shallow fissures into long, irregular, thin scales which readily flake
off. On some trees ridges broken into short oblongs giving a rougher
appearance to bark. Bark up to 2 inches thick in older trees; inner
bark light. The bark is rich in tannin, is of medicinal value and is used
in tanning.

TWIGS — Of medium thickness, greenish-reddish to gray, smooth,
sometimes covered with a bloom. LENTICELS — forming conspicuous,
light-colored, minute, rounded, raised, dots. LEAVES — frequently re-
maining on tree throughout winter, oblong to obovate with generally 7
large blunt lobes. PITH — 5-pointed, star-shaped.

BUDS — Broadly ovate, blunt, about 3 mm. long (2-6 mm.), reddish-
brown, sometimes slightly hairy.

FRUIT — Maturing in autumn of first year singly or in pairs, sessile
or sometimes on slender stalks. NUT — ovoid to oblong, rounded at
apex, shiny, light chestnut brown, 1.5-2.5 cm. long, enclosed Vz-Va,'
of its length by deep saucer-shaped to hemispherical cup. Scales of
cup white-woolly, thick-knobby at base, with short, blunt tips
becoming thinner and flatter at rim of cup. Meat, sweet, edible,
sometimes roasted and used as substitute for coffee, or when boiled
said to be a good substitute for chestnuts.

COMPARISOIVS — The White Oak is the most common of the White
Oak group. Its light flaky bark resembles that of several other Oaks.
It is readily distinguished from the Swamp White Oak by absence of
peeling of bark on young branches and by its larger and more
pointed buds; from the Post Oak by absence of greenish down on
twigs and by generally larger, narrower buds; from the Chinquapin Oak
by its blunt buds; from the Dwarf Chinquapin Oak by its larger stature,
larger twigs and buds.

DISTRIBUTION — On moist or dry ground and in various soils,
sometimes forming nearly pure forests. Quebec and Ontario; south to
the Gulf of Mexico; west to Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas and

IN NEW ENGLAND — Maine — southern sections; New Hampshire — most
abundant eastward; in the Connecticut valley confined to the hills in
the immediate vicinity of the river, extending up the tributary streams
a short distance and disappearing entirely before reaching the mouth
of the Passumpsic; Vermont — common west of the Green mountains,
less so in the southern Connecticut valley; Massachusetts, Connecticut
and Rhode Island — common.

"WOOD — Strong, very heavy, hard, tough, close-grained, durable, light
brown, with thin lighter colored sapwood; the most valuable of the
Oaks for timber, used in shipbuilding, for construction and in cooper-
age, the manufacture of carriages, agricultural implements, baskets, the
interior finish of houses, cabinet making, for railroad ties and fences,
and largely as fuel.

Whiti: Oak


Box White Oak, Iron Oak.

Quercus stellata Wang.
Q. minor Sarg. ; Q. obtusiloba Michx.

HABIT — In New Eng-land a small tree with height in southern
section up to 60 ft., with trunk diameter of 3 ft.; at northern limit
a shrub of 10-35 ft. high with trunk diameter of i^-l ft.; in the open
forming a broad dense, round-topped head with stout spreading

BARK — Flaky; similar to that of White Oak but rather darker,
rougher, corresponding more to type of White Oak bark with"^ short
oblong ridges; i/^-l inch in thickness. Twigs when i/^ inch to 1 inch
in diameter begin to acquire a flaky bark with loose, dark gray scales
lifting at sides and ends.

T"\VIGS — Stout, light orange to reddish-brown; the younger growth by
its light color, in striking contrast with darker, older growth which is
often almost black; young twigs covered, at least in part, with short,
dense orange-brown down, rough to the touch, often not easily noticed
without a hand-lens. Late in season down may become almost black
and disappear from the more exposed parts of twig. Bases of leaf-
scars projecting with a sudden curve from the twig. LENTICELS —
pale, minute. LEAVES — often persistent, oblong, obovate, thick with
generally 5 rounded lobes, the middle pair much the largest. PITH — •
5-pointed, star-shaped.

BUDS — Broadly ovate, often as broad as long and hemispherical,
blunt, rarely acute, generally under 3 mm. long, sometimes up to 6 mm.
in length. BUD-SCALES — bright, reddish-brown, sparingly downy.

FRUIT — Maturing in autumn of first year, single or in pairs or
clustered; sessile or short-stalked. NUT — ovate to oblong, 1.5-2 cm.
long, generally covered with pale down at apex. CUP — covering
%-% the nut, top-shaped or cup-shaped, scales rather thin and flat,
only slightly knobby, pale, woolly. Meat sweet.

COMPARISONS — Readily distinguished from White Oak, which it most
nearly resembles, by rough, dirty orange-brown down which is to be
found more or less completely covering twigs. Buds are blunter,
shorter, generally more nearly hemispherical and of a brighter reddish

DISTRIBUTION — Doubtfully from southern Ontario; south to Florida;
west to Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

IN NEW ENGLAND — Mostly in sterile soil near the sea-coast;
Massachusetts — southern Cape Cod from Falmouth to Brewster, the most
northern station reported, occasional; the islands of Naushon, Martha's
Vineyard, where it is rather common, and Nantucket, where it is rare;
Connecticut — local; usually in rocky ground on and near the coast;
East Lyme and Old Lyme, Branford, New Haven, Orange and Milford,
and westward; extending inland as far as Hamden; on Mt. Carmel and
Huntington at 350 ft. elevation; Rhode Island — along the shore of the
northern arm of Wickford harbor.

WOOD — Very heavy, hard, close-grained, durable in contact with
soil, difficult to season, light or dark brown, with thick lighter colored
sapwood; used for fuel, fencing, railroad ties and sometimes in the
manufacture of carriages, for cooperage and in construction.

Post Oak



Mossy-cup or Over-cup Oak.

Quercus macrocarpa Michx.

HABIT — Although one of our largest Oaks in the central states, in
New England of medium size only 40-60 ft. in height with a trunk
diameter of 1-3 ft.; in the open forming a broad, round top with thick
spreading limbs and numerous often drooping branchlets.

BARK — Flaky, resembling that of White Oak but rather darker and
with ridges rather firmer.

TWIGS — Stout, yellowish-brown, smooth or downy, twigs on some
trees after the first year developing corky ridges. LENTICELS — minute,
pale, raised dots, inconspicuous. LEAVES — which sometimes persist,
obovate-oblong, divided by deep indentations into 5-7 rounded lobes, the
terminal lobe the largest. PITH — 5-pointed, star-shaped.

BUDS — Conical to broadly ovate, sharp-pointed or blunt, 3-5 mm.
long, reddish-brown, covered with pale wool; lateral buds more or
less strongly appressed and flattened against the twig. Stipules often
persisting at tips of twigs, long, downy thread-like. BUD-SCALES —

relatively few to a bud.

FRUIT— Maturing in autumn of first year, very variable, sessile or
stalked, generally single. NUT — ovate to oval, 2-5 cm. long, apex
rounded or depressed, covered with pale down. CUP — thick, hemi-
spherical to top-shaped enclosing from % to the entire nut; scales of
cup, pale, woolly, thickened at base with pointed tips, tips of upper
scales prolonged into a more or less distinct fringe.

COMPARISONS — The Bur Oak is sharply distinguished from our
other Oaks by a number of well-marked characters such as the presence
of corky ridges on the young branchlets, the copious fringe to the
large acorn, the appressed and downy buds. These characters, however,
are not always present in a given specimen; thus the coiky ridges
may fail to appear throughout an entire tree; the acorns may be
reduced in size and in the distinctness of the fiinge; and the lateral
buds may be more or less divergent.

DISTRIBUTIOiV — Low rich bottom lands. Nova Scotia to Manitoba;
south to Pennsylvania and Tennessee; west to Montana, Nebraska,
Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

IN NEW ENGLAND — Maine — known only in the valleys of the middle
Penobscot and the Kennebec; Vermont — lowlands, about Lake Cham-
plain, especially in Addison county, not common; Massachusetts — valley
of the Ware river, Stockbridge and towns south along the Housatonic
river; Connecticut — rich bottom lands or swampy places, rare or local
and confined to the northwestern part of the state; reported from Ca-
naan and Salisbury; Rhode Island — no station reported.

WOOD — Similar to that of White Oak from which it is not generally
distinguished commercially, although superior in strength.

Bur Oak



Quercus bicolor Willd.
Q. platanoides Sudw.

HABIT — A medium sized tree, 40-60 ft. high, with trunk diameter
of 2-3 ft.; in the open with round-topped open head, sometimes broader
than hig-h; upper limbs ascending, lower limbs rather small, horizon-
tal or declined even to the ground, with numerous tufted, small,
scraggly, lateral, pendant branchlets. The scraggly branchlets in
connection with the peeling of the bark give a very rough unkempt
appearance to the tree. Trunk erect, generally continuous,; sometimes
forking above to give somewhat the aspect of an Elm in respect to
main limbs. In the open this tree may generally be recognized at a dis-
tance by the lower branches which spread out below to form a fringe
reminding one of an old-fashioned hoop-skirt.

BARK — Flaky, grayish-brown, divided by deep longitudinal fissures
into rather long, fiat ridges. Bark on small branchlets, dark reddish-
brown to black, peeling into long, persistent stiff-papery layers,
which curl back and expose the lighter bark beneath.

TWIGS — Mediumly stout to slender, yellowish-green to reddish-
brown, smooth (seldom slightly downy). Medullary rays generally absent
in branchlets even of 6 to 8 years growth. LENTICELS — pale, raised.
LEAVES — which may persist obovate-oblong, . wedge-shaped at base,
wavy-margined to blunt-lobed, with 6-8 pairs of primary veins. PITH —
5-pointed, star-shaped.

BUDS — Broadly ovate to oval to spherical; blunt-pointed; small, 2-4
mm. long. BUD-SCALES — brown, at times slightly hairy above middle.

FRUIT — Maturing in one year, single or in pairs or groups of 3,
generally with long stalks, 2.5 to 10 cm. long. NUT — light chestnut
ovate to oblong, 2-3 cm. long, apex covered with pale down, rounded
or pointed. CUP — thick, cup-shaped, about l^ enclosing nut; scales
pale woolly, those at base more or less thickened, at rim of cup tips
of scales elongated, narrow, awn-pointed, often forming short fringe.
Meat sweet, edible.

COMPARISONS — The sycamore-like peeling of the bark from the
young branchlets easily distinguishes this species from all other Oaks.
The bark somewhat resembles that of White Oak but is somewhat
darker and the ridges are longer.

DISTRIBUTION — Borders of swamps and streams. Quebec to Ontario,
where it is known as the Blue Oak; south to Delaware along the
mountains to northern Georgia; west to Minnesota, Iowa, East Kansas
and Arkansas.

IN NEW ENGLAND — 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, comiTicn
eastward; Connecticut — frequent; Rhode Island — common.

WOOD — Similar to that of White Oak, and used for same general
purposes; sapwood. thin, hardly distinguishable from heartwood.

Swamp White Oak


Chestnut Oak, Yellow Oak.

Quercus Muhlenbergii Engelm.
Q. acuminata Houba.

HABIT — Small to medium sized tree 30-40 ft. high with a trunk
diameter of 1-2 ft.; in basin of the Mississippi reaching- an exception-
al heig-ht of 160 feet; trunk buttressed at base in older specimens,
branches comparatively small forming narrow, round-topped head.

BARK — Thin, flaky, broken into loose grayish or sometimes slightly
brownish scales.

T\VIGS — Rather slender, light orange to reddish-brown, smooth.
LENTICELS — pale, inconspicuous. LEAVES — resembling those of
Chestnut with large, incurved, glandular-tipped teeth or rarely with
wavy margin resembling the leaf of the Chestnut Oak. PITH^
5-pointed, star-shaped.

BUDS — Narrowly ovate to conical, sharp-pointed, 3-5 mm, long. BUD-
SCALES — light chestnut brown, slightly hairy on edges, appearing
longitudinally striate if held toward light and viewed with a hand-
lens. Buds similar to those of Chestnut Oak but smaller.

FRUIT — Maturing the first season, sessile or short-stalked, singly or
in pairs. NUT — broadly ovate to oval,. 15-20 mm. long, narrowed and
rounded at pale downy apex, light chestnut brown. CUP — thin, rather
shallow cup-shaped enclosing about Yz or less of the nut; scales pale
brown, woolly, slightly knobby at base of cup, the brownish tips of the
scales sometimes forming a slight fringe at rim of cup. Meat sweet,

COMPARISONS — The Chinquapin Oak resembles the Chestnut Oak on
the one hand and the Dwarf Chinquapin Oak on the other. It is
distinguished from the former by its flaky, gray bark, and the smaller
size of buds and acorns; from the latter by its sharp-pointed buds and
larger size.

DISTRIBUTION — Rare and local in the Atlantic states, usually on
limestone soil, on dry hillsides, rocky ridges and rich bottoms. Ontario;
south to Delaware and District of Columbia, along the mountains to
northern Alabama; west to Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma
and Texas.

IN NEW ENGLAND — Vermont — Gardner's Island, Lake Champlain,
Ferrisburg; Connecticut — rare; calcareous ridges in the northwestern
part of the state; Canaan, Salisbury, also along the Housatonic river
in Kent, New Milford and bordering tide water in Milford.

WOOD — Heavy, very hard, strong, close-grained, durable, with thin,
light-colored sapwood, largely used in cooperage, for wheels, fencing
and railroad ties.


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Chinquapin Oak


Scrub Chestnut Oak, Chinquapin Oak, Scrub Oak.

Quercus prinoides Willd.

HABIT — A low shrub generally 2-4 ft. high or occasionally reaching
15 ft. in heigh, forming broad clumps by prolific stolons.

BARK — Light brown, scaly; scaliness evident when trunk reaches a
diameter of 1% inches.

TWIGS — Slender; generally not over 2 mm. thick, orange to reddish-
brown ; generally smooth ; a variety, rufescens Rehder, with yellowish
.lairs on twigs. LENTICELS — pale, rather conspicuous. LEAVES —
oblanceolate to obovate-oblong, coarsely wavy-toothed. PITH — 5-point-
ed, star-shaped.

BUDS — Spherical to ovate, rounded or slightly narrowed at apex,
about 3 mm. long. SCALES — chestnut brown, thin, scarious and slightly
hairy on edges; small collateral buds sometimes present on either side

Online LibraryAlbert Francis BlakesleeTrees in winter; their study, planting, care and identification → online text (page 22 of 31)