Friday, October 5, 2007

His Majesty: The Scarlet Oak

I adore Oak trees, there is simply no other tree that can match its awesomeness. I love the leaf shape, I love the straight trunks, I love the precious, darling, amazing little acorns, I love the history and symbolism of Mighty Oak, King of the Forest. But the Black and White and Pin Oaks around town, as cool as they are, and as much as I appreciate each and every one of them, just do not do much in the way of exciting color display come autumn. The vast majority of our Oaks around here turn a very UPS brown, the poor dears.

But.., there is an Oak tree so awesome, so ridiculously beautiful in the fall time, that if you happen to luck upon one you will be forced to rub your eyes and squint at it, scarcely believing it is real--and that is the Scarlet Oak.

Scarlet Oak leaves turn an absolutely pure, fire, cardinal red. No hues of yellow, no bursts of pink, I am talking R-E-D. It looks fake! The first time I saw one, Casey was a new itty bitty baby, 2 months old, mid October 2003, and we were trying our hand at homeschool outings with three kids--so we went to a nature center about 20 miles north of my house, and we saw these gorgeous red trees. Upon closer inspection, I saw that they were Oak leaves, and I was so excited! I started piling them into our car, into the stroller basket, into my bag--there was just not a single one of these trees anywhere in town. I would have noticed for sure. I thought it surely must be a "Red Oak", but when I got home and did a little research, I found out that it was the one and only fabulous SCARLET Oak--a perfect name for this color.

If I ever buy a home where I really am going to stay for years and years, I would immediately plant dozens of Scarlet Oaks around my property. I imagine people coming from miles around to stare at my cinnamon-cherry forest, kids picking up the leaves as fast as they could fall, folks taking photographs of their frolicky dog jumping in the bold red piles....
So, look around for any Scarlet Oaks near you! (And whatever you do, don't call it a Red Oak! Those are lovely too, but they are not the same.)

Red Oak; Not the same.


Trish said...

Are these green in the summer? I don't think I've ever seen one -- only the drab brown leaves at the park.

I find the acorns magical somehow. When I was a kid (at Oakland school, incidentally) we had SO MANY Oak trees on the playground. I'd stuff my pockets full of the acorns - they captured my imagination. I was sure they'd turn into little people if I kept them long enough!

You'll have to tell me where we can see a Scarlet Oak locally - too cool!

Kelley said...

So cool! I love the idea of walking through a cinnamon-cherry forest. Let me know when you do it, and we'll come up to see it. :)

Housefairy said...

Trish I will tell you exactly where they were in an email, ok?

Kelley, its a promise!

Meanwhile I am really keeping my eyes peeled for them around town but I have never seen one.

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