Last week we were able to take a Remarkable Trees of Virginia trip. Between increasingly busy schedules on the part of our kids (oh my!) and high gas prices, our adventures have become far less frequent, so visiting a remarkable tree feels like a privilege.
Oaks are our favorite trees to visit, and this bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is special for many reasons including the fact that this species of oak is rare in Virginia. The Elkton bur oak is the largest of its species in Virginia. No one is sure of the tree’s age, but it is believed to be older than the municipal building it stands in front of, a home that was built in 1840 and was used as a hospital during the Civil War.
The bur oak’s acorns are very large, and I was sorry that we weren’t visiting at a time when they would be covering the ground beneath it. I did gather up lots of the extra large fringed caps. A gentleman from Richmond visits the tree each year to collect the acorns and grow them into seedlings which he sells all over the country. Apparently, the way to tell whether or not an acorn has been hollowed out by weevil larvae is to drop it in a bucket of water. Those that float should be tossed out. Only the acorns that sink are viable. At the time that Remarkable Trees of Virginia was published, there was ivy growing up the tree’s trunk and into it’s branches. Thanks to a grant, it has since been safely removed.
I’ll always remember this tree because it was the first remarkable tree that we’ve visited since Silas started walking. It was so cute to watch his funny little baby walk as he explored with the rest of the kids. I recently purchased a cute little acorn t-shirt for Si, and had him dressed in it for the occasion (and right now there’s a giveaway going on along with a coupon code for the shop where I bought it.)