Windy with a Chance of Acorns

As a native New Englander, I have always loved maples the best of all trees. I love the friendly hand-like leaf, the beautiful scarlet fall color. And the syrup!  

But now that I've lived in the Midwest for years and years, I am growing very partial to oaks. They are huge and leafy in summer, they have lovely russet fall color, and their gnarled winter silhouettes look like something a wizard dreamed up. And let's not forget acorns: those adorable little dollops of brown. On a clear windy fall day like today, I hear them bulleting down around me--thup-thup-thup--as I stride along in the woods. I flinch, the dog shies, then I laugh at both of us.  

While doing research for the oak poem in Dark Emperor, I discovered that there are three kinds of oak trees in the Big Woods near my home: white, red, and burr. Today I gathered up some of each to show you:

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These are Red Oak leaves, with plump round acorns. You can always tell red oak leaves, because they have pointy ends, like a flame. Flame=red.  (Note dog paw in corner of photo. He is waiting for permission to chew everything up.)

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Here are some Burr Oak leaves, with elongated brown acorns. Burr oak leaves have less-pronounced lobes, and their acorns have cute furry caps (see below).

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Cute furry burr oak acorn caps.

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White Oak leaves: lots of long, rounded lobes. I personally think them the most handsome of oak leaves. And cheerful glossy brown acorns. A couple of them looked as if they'd begun to sprout, so they must have been on the ground for a while.

I'll be back in January with some spooky oak-branch-against-the-sky photos.

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