Friday, August 06, 2010

American Hardwoods: Red Oak

From little acorns mighty oaks do grow.

"King of the Forest" is featured in many ancient legends, and represents strength and endurance in many tales. With a life span of 200 years. a massive trunk and crown growth, and the volume in production of acorns, the red oak is rightfully King.

In Nordic folklore, the god of thunder, Thor takes shelter under an oak. It was believed to protect a home from lightning by placing and acorn on a window sill (Scandinavian). In more recent cultures, wearing an acorn could bring good fortune and a long life.

BOOKENDS by wildwood

The wood the oak has been selected over the centuries for it's dense and solid structure: boats, beams, doors, weaponry, and furnishings. Even King Arthur's Round Table was said to have been made from a single slice of oak. Barrels used for storing and aging wine, brandy, whiskey and other spirits are often made from oak that contritributes to the color, taste and aroma of the drink.

Live oaks are classified because of their evergreen foliage, and they are short in height with low hanging branches. Dried Southern live oak lumber has the highest rating in density of all the American Hardwoods.

In 2004, Congress passed legislation that offically name the Oak as America's National Tree.

AUTuMN LEAVES by wildwood

Follow our series of articles on AMERICAN HARDWOODS on Edge of the Wildwood. We examine over 20 species of hardwoods trees: their characteristics, legends, and resource. Our next tree covered in the AH series is Poplar.

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