O                                                           1367                                                      OAK


O, the fifte2nth letter, is a vowel, and represents seven sounds. It is produced through the rounded lips, and is therefore classified as the labial vowel. Its principal sounds are the long one in bone and the short one in nod. Variants of these are heard in orb, son, do (food) and wolf (book). With other vowels it forms diagraphs and diphthongs. Anciently it was a, numeral (11) as well as a letter, O with a bar over it being 11,000. O' with an apostrophe after it in Irish names is a prefix meaning son of, as O'Connell, son of Connell.

Oak, species of Quercus, a genus containing about 200 species, all natives of the

northern hemisphere. About 50 species belong to North America , and, among them occur some of the finest and best-known of our forest-trees. They are easily recognized by their characteristic leaves and especially b y their peculiar fruit,the well - known acorns. Among our most conspicuous species are the white oak (Q. alba), red oak (Q. rubra), scarlet oak (Q. coccinea), burr-oak (Q. macrocarpa), chestnut-oak (Q. acuminata) and live oak (Q. Virginiana). The white oak is a great, stately tree, 70 to 80 feet high, and still higher in the forest. In the open its branches spread wide. The bark is light gray in color, and not so rough as that of most hickories. The leaves are simple, alternate, obovate, bright green above and paler below; when young they are woolly and red; they turn dark red in the fall and may remain on the tiee all winter. The acorns have rough cups, usually growing in pairs. The range is from Maine to Minnesota and southward; the tree is at its best on the western slopes of

Description images/pp0258 1


the Alleghanies. It is one of our most valuable timber-trees; the wood is used in shipbuilding, in the manufacture of carriages, for interior finish and for other purposes. The tree lives to a great age. The red oak grows under a variety of conditions. The tree grows 50, 80 or 150 feet high, has a round top, the foliage abundant but the leaves so attached that they give this tree of girth and height a light and airy appearance. The bark is reddish brown and comparatively smooth, the leaves are simple, alternate, dark green above and pale green below. The acorn-cup is shallow, the nut large. The wood is porous and not highly valued. In autumn the scarlet oak wears leaves of the most brilliant red, and at all seasons it is a very picturesque tree. It varies in height from 50 to 90 feet, sometimes higher; is narrow at the top; the bark rough and grayish-brown; the leaves large and lustrous. The acorns are quite large, the cup scaly. It is highly valued as an ornamental tree. The burr-oak is hardy, beautiful and a valuable timber. It is widely distributed — found from Montana to Pennsylvania and south to Texas, and also grows in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts. East of the Alleghanies it is comparatively rare, and is at its best in Illinois, Indiana and the Mississippi Basin. In some regions it rises even 150 feet, but the average is about 75; with space for out-reaching, the tree is wide-spreading. The bark is deeply furrowed and brownish-gray; the leaves are long, shiny and dark-green above, silvery white underneath. The acorns are very large, the cup is extremely rough and there is a noticeable fringe around the edge. The wood is dark brown, the strongest of the oaks, and is highly valued. The chestnut-oak is a magnificent tree, one of the most beautiful of the oaks. It rises tall and straight; its height 60, 70 or 100 feet, its leaves somewhat like those of the chestnut. The bark is light gray, almost white; the acorns are small and grow close to the branch. The bark is rich in tannin, the wood used in cooperage. The range of the tree is from Vermont to Alabama and westward, and it is found at its best in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. The live oak is a beautiful southern form of oak, its leaves evergreen. The range is from Virginia southward near the coast to Florida, where the trees are especially abundant, and west to Mexico. It sometimes is