Oak

An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus (/ˈkwɜːrkəs/;[1] Latin "oak tree") of the beech family, Fagaceae. There are approximately 600 extant species of oaks. The common name "oak" also appears in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus (stone oaks), as well as in those of unrelated species such as Grevillea robusta (silky oaks) and the Casuarinaceae (she-oaks). The genus Quercus is native to the Northern Hemisphere, and includes deciduous and evergreen species extending from cool temperate to tropical latitudes in the Americas, Asia, Europe, and North Africa. North America contains the largest number of oak species, with approximately 90 occurring in the United States, while Mexico has 160 species of which 109 are endemic. The second greatest center of oak diversity is China, which contains approximately 100 species.[2]

Quercus 20180406 100657
Oak: male flowers

Oaks have spirally arranged leaves, with lobate margins in many species; some have serrated leaves or entire leaves with smooth margins. Many deciduous species are marcescent, not dropping dead leaves until spring. In spring, a single oak tree produces both male flowers (in the form of catkins) and small female flowers.[3] The fruit is a nut called an acorn or oak nut borne in a cup-like structure known as a cupule; each acorn contains one seed (rarely two or three) and takes 6–18 months to mature, depending on their species. The acorns and leaves contain tannic acid,[4] which helps to guard from fungi and insects.[5] The live oaks are distinguished for being evergreen, but are not actually a distinct group and instead are dispersed across the genus.

Oak
Quercus robur
Foliage and acorns of Quercus robur
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fagales
Family: Fagaceae
Genus: Quercus
L.
Species

See List of Quercus species

Classification

The oak tree is a flowering plant. Oaks may be divided into two genera (sometimes referred to as subgenera) and a number of sections:

Genus Quercus

Eiche bei Schönderling, 2
Oak at Schönderling

The genus Quercus is divided into the following sections:

  • Sect. Quercus (synonyms Lepidobalanus and Leucobalanus), the white oaks of Europe, Asia and North America. Styles are short; acorns mature in 6 months and taste sweet or slightly bitter; the inside of an acorn shell is hairless. The leaves mostly lack a bristle on their lobe tips, which are usually rounded. The type species is Quercus robur.
  • Sect. Mesobalanus, Hungarian oak and its relatives of Europe and Asia. Styles long; acorns mature in about 6 months and taste bitter; the inside of this acorn's shell is hairless. The section Mesobalanus is closely related to section Quercus and sometimes included in it.
  • Sect. Cerris, the Turkey oak and its relatives of Europe and Asia. Styles long; acorn mature in 18 months and taste very bitter. The inside of the acorn's shell is hairless. Its leaves typically have sharp lobe tips, with bristles at the lobe tip.
  • Sect. Protobalanus, the canyon live oak and its relatives, in southwest United States and northwest Mexico. Styles short, acorns mature in 18 months and taste very bitter. The inside of the acorn shell appears woolly. Leaves typically have sharp lobe tips, with bristles at the lobe tip.
  • Sect. Lobatae (synonym Erythrobalanus), the red oaks of North America, Central America and northern South America. Styles long; acorns mature in 18 months and taste very bitter. The inside of the acorn shell appears woolly. The actual nut is encased in a thin, clinging, papery skin. Leaves typically have sharp lobe tips, with spiny bristles at the lobe.

Genus Cyclobalanopsis

Tamm Koluvere järve kaldal
Old oak tree on the shore of Lake Koluvere, Estonia.
  • The ring-cupped oaks of eastern and southeastern Asia. Evergreen trees growing 10–40 m (33–131 ft) tall. They are distinct from subgenus Quercus in that they have acorns with distinctive cups bearing concrescent rings of scales; they commonly also have densely clustered acorns, though this does not apply to all of the species. IUCN, ITIS, Encyclopedia of Life and Flora of China treats Cyclobalanopsis as a distinct genus, but some taxonomists consider it a subgenus of Quercus. It contains about 150 species. Species of Cyclobalanopsis are common in the evergreen subtropical laurel forests which extend from southern Japan, southern Korea, and Taiwan across southern China and northern Indochina to the eastern Himalayas, in association with trees of genus Castanopsis and the laurel family (Lauraceae).

Hybridization

Quercus stellata
A hybrid white oak, possibly Quercus stellata × Q. muhlenbergii

Interspecific hybridization is quite common among oaks but usually between species within the same section only and most common in the white oak group (subgenus Quercus, section Quercus; see List of Quercus species). Inter-section hybrids, except between species of sections Quercus and Mesobalanus, are unknown. Recent systematic studies appear to confirm a high tendency of Quercus species to hybridize because of a combination of factors. White oaks are unable to discriminate against pollination by other species in the same section. Because they are wind pollinated and they have weak internal barriers to hybridization, hybridization produces functional seeds and fertile hybrid offspring.[6] Ecological stresses, especially near habitat margins, can also cause a breakdown of mate recognition as well as a reduction of male function (pollen quantity and quality) in one parent species.[6][7]

Frequent hybridization among oaks has consequences for oak populations around the world; most notably, hybridization has produced large populations of hybrids with copious amounts of introgression, and the evolution of new species.[8] Frequent hybridization and high levels of introgression have caused different species in the same populations to share up to 50% of their genetic information.[9] Having high rates of hybridization and introgression produces genetic data that often does not differentiate between two clearly morphologically distinct species, but instead differentiates populations.[10] Numerous hypotheses have been proposed to explain how oak species are able to remain morphologically and ecologically distinct with such high levels of gene flow, but the phenomenon is still largely a mystery to botanists.

The Fagaceae, or beech family, to which the oaks belong, is a very slow evolving clade compared to other angiosperms,[11][12] and the patterns of hybridization and introgression in Quercus pose a great challenge to the concept of a species since a species is often defined as a group of "actually or potentially interbreeding populations which are reproductively isolated from other such groups."[13] By this definition, many species of Quercus would be lumped together according to their geographic and ecological habitat, despite clear distinctions in morphology and, to a large extent, genetic data.

Uses

Charpente eglise Saint-Girons Monein
Heart of oak beams of the frame of the Église Saint-Girons in Monein, France

Oak wood has a density of about 0.75 g/cm3 (0.43 oz/cu in) creating great strength and hardness. The wood is very resistant to insect and fungal attack because of its high tannin content. It also has very appealing grain markings, particularly when quartersawn. Oak planking was common on high status Viking longships in the 9th and 10th centuries. The wood was hewn from green logs, by axe and wedge, to produce radial planks, similar to quarter-sawn timber. Wide, quarter-sawn boards of oak have been prized since the Middle Ages for use in interior panelling of prestigious buildings such as the debating chamber of the House of Commons in London and in the construction of fine furniture. Oak wood, from Quercus robur and Quercus petraea, was used in Europe for the construction of ships, especially naval men of war,[14] until the 19th century, and was the principal timber used in the construction of European timber-framed buildings. Today oak wood is still commonly used for furniture making and flooring, timber frame buildings, and veneer production.

Barrels in which wines, sherry, and spirits such as brandy, Irish whiskey, Scotch whisky and Bourbon whiskey are aged are made from European and American oak, with single barrel whiskey fetching a premium. The use of oak in wine can add many different dimensions to wine based on the type and style of the oak. Oak barrels, which may be charred before use, contribute to the colour, taste, and aroma of the contents, imparting a desirable oaky vanillin flavour to these drinks. The great dilemma for wine producers is to choose between French and American oakwoods. French oaks (Quercus robur, Q. petraea) give the wine greater refinement and are chosen for the best wines since they increase the price compared to those aged in American oak wood. American oak contributes greater texture and resistance to ageing, but produces more powerful wine bouquets. Oak wood chips are used for smoking fish, meat, cheeses,[15] and other foods.

Sherry cellar, Solera system, 2003
Sherry maturing in oak barrels

Japanese oak is used in the making of professional drums from the manufacturer Yamaha Drums. The higher density of oak gives the drum a brighter and louder tone compared to traditional drum materials such as maple and birch. In hill states of India, besides fuelwood and timber, the local people use oak wood for making agricultural implements. The leaves are used as fodder during lean period and bedding for livestock.[16][17]

Cork oak trunk section
A cross section of the trunk of a cork oak, Quercus suber

The bark of the cork oak is used to produce wine stoppers (corks). This species grows in the Mediterranean Sea region, with Portugal, Spain, Algeria, and Morocco producing most of the world's supply.

Of the North American oaks, the northern red oak is one of the most prized of the red oak group for lumber, much of which is marketed as red oak regardless of the species of origin. It is not good for outdoor use due to its open capillaries unless the wood is treated. If the wood is properly treated with preservatives, it will not rot as quickly as cured white oak heartwood. The closed cell structure of white oaks prevents them from absorbing preservatives. With northern red oak, one can blow air through an end grain piece 10 inches long to make bubbles come out in a glass of water. These openings give fungus easy access when the finish deteriorates. Shumard oak, a member of the red oak subgenus, provides timber which is described as "mechanically superior" to northern red oak. Cherrybark oak is another type of red oak which provides excellent timber.

The standard for the lumber of the white oak group – all of which is marketed as white oak – is the Quercus alba. White oak is often used to make wine barrels. The wood of the deciduous pedunculate oak and sessile oak accounts for most of the European oak production, but evergreen species, such as Holm oak and cork oak also produce valuable timber.

The bark of the white oak is dried and used in medical preparations. Oak bark is also rich in tannin, and is used by tanners for tanning leather. Acorns are used for making flour or roasted for acorn coffee.

Loode tammik ülastega kevadel
Oak forest in Estonia.
Junge Eiche 4
Oak on sandy earth.
Njivice - hrastova šuma uz plažu
Oak forest on the beach in Njivice, Croatia

Oak galls were used for centuries as a main ingredient in iron gall ink, a kind of manuscript ink, harvested at a specific time of year.[18] In Korea, oak bark is used to make shingles for traditional roof construction.

Biodiversity and ecology

Oaks are keystone species in a wide range of habitats from Mediterranean semi-desert to subtropical rainforest. For example, oak trees are important components of hardwood forests, and certain species are particularly known to grow in associations with members of the Ericaceae in oak–heath forests.[19][20] A number of kinds of truffles, including the two well known varieties, the black Périgord truffle[21] and the white Piedmont truffle,[22] have symbiotic relationships with oak trees. Similarly many other mushrooms such as Ramaria flavosaponaria also associate with oaks.[23][24] The European pied flycatcher is an example of an animal species that often depends upon oak trees.

Many species of oaks are under threat of extinction in the wild, largely due to land use changes, livestock grazing and unsustainable harvesting. For example, over the past 200 years, large areas of oak forest in the highlands of Mexico, Central America and the northern Andes have been cleared for coffee plantations and cattle ranching. There is a continuing threat to these forests from exploitation for timber, fuelwood and charcoal.[25] In the USA, entire oak ecosystems have declined due to a combination of factors still imperfectly known, but thought to include fire suppression, increased consumption of acorns by growing mammal populations, herbivory of seedlings, and introduced pests.[26] In a recent survey, 78 wild oak species have been identified as being in danger of extinction, from a global total of over 500 species.[27] The proportion under threat may be much higher in reality, as there is insufficient information about over 300 species, making it near impossible to form any judgement of their status.

In the Himalayan region of India, oak forests are being invaded by pine forests due to the increase in temperature. The associated species of pine forest may cross frontiers and become new elements of the oak forests.[28]

In eastern North America, rare species of oak trees include scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea), chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii), and post oak (Quercus stellata).[29]

The mature trees shed varying numbers of acorns annually. Scientists suggest that shedding excess numbers allows the oaks to satiate nut gathering species, improving the chances of germination. Every four to ten years, certain oak populations will synchronize to produce almost no acorns at all, only to rain them down excessively the following year, known as a "mast" year. The year preceding the mast year is thought to starve off the mammal populations feeding on the supply, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the overproduction in the mast year that follows.[30][31] This is necessary to the survival of any given oak species, as only one in 10,000 acorns results in an eventual tree.[32]

Genetics

Beginning 1 November 2011, a project began to sequence the entire oak genome. The goal of the project is to create a high resolution sequence of the Quercus robur genome, and to study genetic diversity by comparison of the genomes of different species.[33] Current research has compiled genomic data from many different sources and techniques to create a genome map with 89% coverage of the genome. The project is still in the process of annotating this genome.[34]

Diseases and pests

Oak Mildew
Oak powdery mildew on pedunculate oak

Sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum) is a water mould that can kill oaks within just a few weeks. Oak wilt, caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum (a fungus closely related to Dutch elm disease), is also a lethal disease of some oaks, particularly the red oaks (the white oaks can be infected but generally live longer). Other dangers include wood-boring beetles, as well as root rot in older trees which may not be apparent on the outside, often being discovered only when the trees come down in a strong gale. Oak apples are galls on oaks made by the gall wasp. The female kermes scale causes galls to grow on kermes oak. Oaks are used as food plants by the larvae of Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species such as the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, which can defoliate oak and other broadleaved tree species in North America.[35]

A considerable number of galls are found on oak leaves, buds, flowers, roots, etc. Examples are oak artichoke gall, oak marble gall, oak apple gall, knopper gall, and spangle gall.

A number of species of fungus cause powdery mildew on oak species. In Europe the species Erysiphe alphitoides is the most common cause.[36]

A new and yet little understood disease of mature oaks, acute oak decline, has been reported in parts of the UK since 2009.[37]

Oak processionary moth (Thaumetopoea processionea) has become a serious threat in the UK since 2006. The caterpillars of this species defoliate the trees, and are hazardous to human health; their bodies are covered with poisonous hairs which can cause rashes and respiratory problems.[38]

In California, oaks are affected by the fungal disease Foamy bark canker.

Toxicity

The leaves and acorns of the oak tree are poisonous to cattle, horses, sheep, and goats in large amounts due to the toxin tannic acid, and cause kidney damage and gastroenteritis. Symptoms of poisoning include lack of appetite, depression, constipation, diarrhea (which may contain blood), blood in urine, and colic. The exception to livestock and oak toxicity is the domestic pig, which may be fed entirely on acorns in the right conditions, and has traditionally been pastured in oak woodlands (such as the Spanish dehesa and the English system of pannage) for hundreds of years.

Acorns are also edible to humans, after leaching of the tannins.[39]

Cultural significance

National symbol

The oak is a common symbol of strength and endurance and has been chosen as the national tree of many countries. Already an ancient Germanic symbol (in the form of the Donar Oak, for instance), certainly since the early nineteenth century, it stands for the nation of Germany and oak branches are thus displayed on some German coins, both of the former Deutsche Mark and the current Euro currency.[40] In 2004 the Arbor Day Foundation[41] held a vote for the official National Tree of the United States of America. In November 2004, the United States Congress passed legislation designating the oak as America's National Tree.[42]

Other countries have also designated the oak as their national tree including Bulgaria, Cyprus (Golden Oak), England, Estonia, France, Germany, Moldova, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Wales.[43]

Oaks as regional and state symbols

The oak is the emblem of County Londonderry in Northern Ireland, as a vast amount of the county was covered in forests of the tree until relatively recently. The name of the county comes from the city of Derry, which originally in Irish was known as Doire meaning oak.

The Irish County Kildare derives its name from the town of Kildare which originally in Irish was Cill Dara meaning the Church of the Oak or Oak Church.

Iowa designated the oak as its official state tree in 1961; and the White Oak is the state tree of Connecticut, Illinois and Maryland. The Northern Red Oak is the provincial tree of Prince Edward Island, as well as the state tree of New Jersey. The Live Oak is the state tree of Georgia, USA.

The oak is a national symbol from the Basque Country, specially in the province of Biscay.

The oak is a symbol of the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area; the coat-of-arms and flag of Oakland, California feature the oak and the logo of the East Bay Regional Park District is an oak leaf.

The coat-of-arms of Vest-Agder, Norway, and Blekinge, Sweden, features oak trees.

The coat-of-arms of the municipality Eigersund, Norway features an oak leaf.

Oak leaves are traditionally an important part of German Army regalia. The Nazi party used the traditional German eagle, standing atop of a swastika inside a wreath of oak leaves. It is also known as the Iron Eagle. During the Third Reich of Nazi Germany, oak leaves were used for military valor decoration on the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross. They also symbolize rank in the United States Armed Forces. A gold oak leaf indicates an O-4 (Major or Lt. Commander), whereas a silver oak leaf indicates an O-5 (Lt. Colonel or Commander). Arrangements of oak leaves, acorns and sprigs indicate different branches of the United States Navy Staff corps officers.[44] Oak leaves are embroidered onto the covers (hats) worn by field grade officers and flag officers in the United States armed services.

If a member of the United States Army or Air Force earns multiple awards of the same medal, then instead of wearing a ribbon or medal for each award, he or she wears one metal representation of an "oak leaf cluster" attached to the appropriate ribbon for each subsequent award.[45]

Political use

The oak tree is used as a symbol by a number of political parties. It is the symbol of Toryism (on account of the Royal Oak) and the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom,[46] and formerly of the Progressive Democrats in Ireland[47] and the Democrats of the Left in Italy. In the cultural arena, the oakleaf is the symbol of the National Trust (UK), The Woodland Trust, and The Royal Oak Foundation.[44]

Religious

Grīdnieku dižozols
Grīdnieku ancient oak in Rumbas parish, Latvia, girth 8.27m, 2015

In Greek mythology, the oak is the tree sacred to Zeus, king of the gods. In Zeus's oracle in Dodona, Epirus, the sacred oak was the centerpiece of the precinct, and the priests would divine the pronouncements of the god by interpreting the rustling of the oak's leaves.[48]

In Baltic and Slavic mythology, the oak is the sacred tree of Latvian Pērkons, Lithuanian Perkūnas, Prussian Perkūns and Slavic Perun,[49] the god of thunder and one of the most important deities in the Baltic and Slavic pantheons.

In Celtic polytheism, the name of the oak tree was part of the Proto-Celtic word for 'druid': *derwo-weyd- > *druwid-; however, Proto-Celtic *derwo- (and *dru-) can also be adjectives for 'strong' and 'firm', so Ranko Matasovic interprets that *druwid- may mean 'strong knowledge'. As in other Indo-European faiths, Taranis, being a thunder god, was associated with the oak tree.[50] The Indo-Europeans worshiped the oak and connected it with a thunder or lightning god; "tree" and drus may also be cognate with "Druid," the Celtic priest to whom the oak was sacred. There has even been a study that shows that oaks are more likely to be struck by lightning than any other tree of the same height.[51]

In Norse mythology, the oak was sacred to the thunder god, Thor. Thor's Oak was a sacred tree of the Germanic Chatti tribe.

In the Bible, the oak tree at Shechem is the site where Jacob buries the foreign gods of his people (Gen. 35:4) . In addition, Joshua erects a stone under an oak tree as the first covenant of the Lord (Josh. 24.25–7). In Isaiah 61, the prophet refers to the Israelites as "Oaks of Righteousness." Absalom's long hair (2 Samuel 18:9) gets caught in an oak tree, and allows Joab to kill him.

The badnjak is central tradition in Serbian Orthodox Church Christmas celebration where young and straight oak, is ceremonially felled early on the morning of Christmas Eve.

In some traditions of Wicca, the Oak King is one of the two faces of the Sun God. He is born on Yule and rules from Ostara to Mabon.

Historical

Several singular oak trees, such as the Royal Oak in Britain and the Charter Oak in the United States, are of great historical or cultural importance; for a list of important oaks, see Individual oak trees.

"The Proscribed Royalist, 1651", a famous painting by John Everett Millais, depicted a Royalist fleeing from Cromwell's forces and hidden in an oak. Millais painted the picture in Hayes, Kent, from a local oak tree that became known as the Millais Oak.[52][53]

Approximately 50 km west of Toronto, Canada is the town of Oakville, ON, famous for its history as a shipbuilding port on Lake Ontario.

The city of Raleigh, N.C., is known as "The City of Oaks."

The Jurupa Oak tree – a clonal colony of Quercus palmeria or Palmer’s oak found in Riverside County, California – is an estimated 13,000 years old.[54]

Large groups of very old oak trees are rare. One of the oldest groups of oak trees, found in Poland, is about 480 years old, which was assessed by dendrochronological methods.[55]

In the Roman Republic, a crown of oak leaves was given to those who had saved the life of a citizen in battle; it was called the "civic oak crown".[51]

Famous oak trees

Tamme-Lauri Tamm suvel
Tamme-Lauri oak is the thickest and oldest tree in Estonia.
Gustave Courbet - Le Gros Chêne (1843)
The Big Oak, by Gustave Courbet (1843).
  • The Emancipation Oak is designated one of the 10 Great Trees of the World by the National Geographic Society and is part of the National Historic Landmark district of Hampton University.
  • The Ivenack Oak which is one of the largest trees in Europe is located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, and is approximately 800 years old.[56]
  • The Bowthorpe Oak, located in Bourne, Lincolnshire, is thought to be 1,000 years old. It was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records and was filmed for a TV documentary for its astonishing longevity.[56]
  • The Minchenden (or Chandos) Oak, in Southgate, London, is said to be the largest oak tree in England (already 27 feet or 8.2 meters in girth in the nineteenth century), and is perhaps 800 years old.[57]
  • The Seven Sisters Oak is the largest certified southern live oak tree. Located in Mandeville, Louisiana, it is estimated to be up to 1,500 years old with a trunk that measures 38 ft (11.6 meters).[58][59]
  • The Major Oak is an 800 to 1000-year-old tree located in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. According to folklore, it was used by Robin Hood for shelter.
  • Friendship Oak is a 500-year-old southern live oak located in Long Beach, Mississippi.
  • The Crouch Oak is believed to have originated in the 11th Century and is located in Addlestone, Surrey. It is an important symbol of the town with many local businesses adopting its name. It used to mark the boundary of Windsor Great Park. Legend says that Queen Elizabeth I stopped by it and had a picnic.
  • The Angel Oak is a southern live oak located in Angel Oak Park on John's Island near Charleston, South Carolina. The Angel Oak is estimated to be in excess of 400–500 years old, stands 66.5 ft (20.3 m) tall, and measures 28 ft (8.5 m) in circumference.
  • The Kaiser's Oak, located at the village of Gommecourt in Artois, France, named in honour of Kaiser Wilhelm II, symbolically marked from late 1914 to April 1917 the furthest point in the West of the German Imperial Army during World War One.
  • The Wye Oak in Maryland was the United States' largest white oak tree before it blew down in a storm in 2002, at an estimated age of 460 years.
  • The Bland Oak in Sydney, Australia, planted in the 1840s, was the largest tree in Australia after it was split in a storm early on New Year Day 1941.

Historical note on Linnaean species

Linnaeus described only five species of oak from eastern North America, based on general leaf form. These were white oak, Quercus alba; chestnut oak, Q. montana; red oak, Q. rubra; willow oak Q. phellos; and water oak, Q. nigra. Because he was dealing with confusing leaf forms, the Q. montana and Q. rubra specimens actually included mixed foliage of more than one species.

See also

References

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Bibliography

  • Byfield, Liz (1990) An oak tree, Collins book bus, London : Collins Educational, ISBN 0-00-313526-8
  • Philips, Roger. Trees of North America and Europe, Random House, Inc., New York ISBN 0-394-50259-0, 1979.
  • Logan, William B. (2005) Oak : the frame of civilization, New York; London : W.W. Norton, ISBN 0-393-04773-3
  • Paterson, R.T. (1993) Use of trees by livestock, 5: Quercus, Chatham : Natural Resources Institute, ISBN 0-85954-365-X
  • Royston, Angela (2000) Life cycle of an oak tree, Heinemann first library, Oxford : Heinemann Library, ISBN 0-431-08391-6
  • Savage, Stephen (1994) Oak tree, Observing nature series, Hove : Wayland, ISBN 0-7502-1196-2
  • Tansley, Arthur G., Sir (1952) Oaks and oak woods, Field study books, London : Methuen.
  • Żukow-Karczewski, Marek (1988) Dąb – król polskich drzew (Oak – the king of the Polish trees), AURA (A Monthly for the protection and shaping of human environment), 9, 20–21.

External links

Acorn

The acorn, or oaknut, is the nut of the oaks and their close relatives (genera Quercus and Lithocarpus, in the family Fagaceae). It usually contains a single seed (occasionally two seeds), enclosed in a tough, leathery shell, and borne in a cup-shaped cupule. Acorns are 1–6 cm (0.39–2.36 in) long and 0.8–4 cm (0.31–1.57 in) broad. Acorns take between 6 and 24 months (depending on the species) to mature; see the list of Quercus species for details of oak classification, in which acorn morphology and phenology are important factors.

Barrel

A barrel, cask, or tun is a hollow cylindrical container with a bulging center, traditionally made of wooden staves bound by wooden or metal hoops. Traditionally, the barrel was a standard size of measure referring to a set capacity or weight of a given commodity. For example, in the UK a barrel of beer refers to a quantity of 36 imperial gallons (160 L; 43 US gal). Wine was shipped in barrels of 119 litres (31 US gal; 26 imp gal). Barrel has also come into use as a generic term for a wooden cask of any size.

Modern wooden barrels for wine-making are either made of French common oak (Quercus robur) and white oak (Quercus petraea) or from American white oak (Quercus alba) and typically have standard sizes: "Bordeaux type" 225 litres (59 US gal; 49 imp gal), "Burgundy type" 228 litres (60 US gal; 50 imp gal) and "Cognac type" 300 litres (79 US gal; 66 imp gal). Modern barrels and casks can also be made of aluminum, stainless steel, and different types of plastic, such as HDPE.

Someone who makes barrels is called a "barrel maker" or cooper. Barrels are only one type of cooperage. Other types include, but are not limited to, the making of buckets, vats, tubs, butter churns, hogsheads, firkins, kegs, kilderkins, tierces, rundlets, puncheons, pipes, tuns, butts, pins, and breakers.

Barrels have a variety of uses, including storage of liquids such as water and oil, fermenting wine, arrack, and sake, and maturing beverages such as wine, cognac, armagnac, sherry, port, whiskey, and beer. Other commodities once stored in wooden casks include gunpowder, meat, fish, paint, nails and tallow. Early casks were bound with wooden hoops and in the 19th century these were gradually replaced by metal hoops that were stronger, more durable and took up less space. The term barrel can also refer to roughly cylindrical containers made of modern materials like plastic.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was an American architect, interior designer, writer, and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures, 532 of which were completed. Wright believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. This philosophy was best exemplified by Fallingwater (1935), which has been called "the best all-time work of American architecture". His creative period spanned more than 70 years.

Wright was the pioneer of what came to be called the Prairie School movement of architecture, and he also developed the concept of the Usonian home in Broadacre City, his unique vision for urban planning in the United States. In addition to his houses, Wright designed original and innovative offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, museums, and other structures. He often designed interior elements for these buildings, as well, including furniture and stained glass. Wright wrote 20 books and many articles and was a popular lecturer in the United States and Europe. Wright was recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as "the greatest American architect of all time".His colorful personal life often made headlines, notably for leaving his first wife, Catherine Lee "Kitty" Tobin for Mamah Borthwick Cheney, the murders at his Taliesin estate in 1914, his tempestuous marriage with second wife Miriam Noel, and his relationship with Olga (Olgivanna) Lazovich Hinzenburg, who became his third wife in 1928.

Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), or simply the Knight's Cross (Ritterkreuz), and its variants were the highest awards in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II.

The Knight's Cross was awarded for a wide range of reasons and across all ranks, from a senior commander for skilled leadership of his troops in battle to a low-ranking soldier for a single act of military valour. Presentations were made to members of the three military branches of the Wehrmacht (the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy) and the Luftwaffe (air Force), as well as the Waffen-SS, the Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD—Reich Labour Service) and the Volkssturm (German national militia), along with personnel from other Axis powers.

The award was instituted on 1 September 1939, at the onset of the German invasion of Poland. A higher grade, the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross, was instituted in 1940. In 1941, two higher grades of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves were instituted: the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords and the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. At the end of 1944 the final grade, the Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, was created. Over 7,000 awards were made during the course of the war.

List of Quercus species

The genus Quercus (oak) contains about 600 species, some of which are listed here.

For the taxonomic status of the oaks see The Plant List.

Manhattan Project

The Manhattan Project was a research and development undertaking during World War II that produced the first nuclear weapons. It was led by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Nuclear physicist Robert Oppenheimer was the director of the Los Alamos Laboratory that designed the actual bombs. The Army component of the project was designated the Manhattan District; Manhattan gradually superseded the official codename, Development of Substitute Materials, for the entire project. Along the way, the project absorbed its earlier British counterpart, Tube Alloys. The Manhattan Project began modestly in 1939, but grew to employ more than 130,000 people and cost nearly US$2 billion (about $23 billion in 2018 dollars). Over 90% of the cost was for building factories and to produce fissile material, with less than 10% for development and production of the weapons. Research and production took place at more than 30 sites across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

Two types of atomic bombs were developed concurrently during the war: a relatively simple gun-type fission weapon and a more complex implosion-type nuclear weapon. The Thin Man gun-type design proved impractical to use with plutonium, and therefore a simpler gun-type called Little Boy was developed that used uranium-235, an isotope that makes up only 0.7 percent of natural uranium. Chemically identical to the most common isotope, uranium-238, and with almost the same mass, it proved difficult to separate the two. Three methods were employed for uranium enrichment: electromagnetic, gaseous and thermal. Most of this work was performed at the Clinton Engineer Works at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

In parallel with the work on uranium was an effort to produce plutonium. After the feasibility of the world's first artificial nuclear reactor was demonstrated in Chicago at the Metallurgical Laboratory, it designed the X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge and the production reactors in Hanford, Washington, in which uranium was irradiated and transmuted into plutonium. The plutonium was then chemically separated from the uranium, using the bismuth phosphate process. The Fat Man plutonium implosion-type weapon was developed in a concerted design and development effort by the Los Alamos Laboratory.

The project was also charged with gathering intelligence on the German nuclear weapon project. Through Operation Alsos, Manhattan Project personnel served in Europe, sometimes behind enemy lines, where they gathered nuclear materials and documents, and rounded up German scientists. Despite the Manhattan Project's tight security, Soviet atomic spies successfully penetrated the program.

The first nuclear device ever detonated was an implosion-type bomb at the Trinity test, conducted at New Mexico's Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range on 16 July 1945. Little Boy and Fat Man bombs were used a month later in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. In the immediate postwar years, the Manhattan Project conducted weapons testing at Bikini Atoll as part of Operation Crossroads, developed new weapons, promoted the development of the network of national laboratories, supported medical research into radiology and laid the foundations for the nuclear navy. It maintained control over American atomic weapons research and production until the formation of the United States Atomic Energy Commission in January 1947.

Oak (wine)

Oak is used in winemaking to vary the color, flavor, tannin profile and texture of wine. It can be introduced in the form of a barrel during the fermentation or aging periods, or as free-floating chips or staves added to wine fermented in a vessel like stainless steel. Oak barrels can impart other qualities to wine through evaporation and low level exposure to oxygen.

Oak Island

Oak Island is a 57-hectare (140-acre) privately owned island in Lunenburg County on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. The tree-covered island is one of about 360 small islands in Mahone Bay and rises to a maximum of 11 metres (36 feet) above sea level. The island is located 200 metres (660 feet) from shore and connected to the mainland by a causeway and gate. The nearest community is the rural community of Western Shore which faces the island, while the nearest village is Chester. The island is best known for various theories about possible buried treasure or historical artifacts, and the associated exploration.

Oak Lawn, Illinois

Oak Lawn is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 56,690 at the 2010 census.Oak Lawn is a suburb of Chicago, located southwest of the city. It shares borders with the city in two areas but is surrounded mostly by other suburbs.

Oak Park, Illinois

Oak Park is a village adjacent to the West Side of Chicago, Illinois. It is the 29th largest municipality in Illinois as measured by population in the 2010 U.S. census. As of the 2010 United States Census the village had a population of 51,878.Oak Park was settled beginning in the 1830s, with rapid growth later in the 19th century and early 20th century. It incorporated in 1902, breaking off from Cicero. Development was spurred by railroads and street cars connecting the village to jobs in Chicago. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his wife settled here in 1889. Population peaked at 66,015 in 1940. Smaller families led to falling population in the same number of homes and apartments. In the 1960s, Oak Park faced the challenge of racial integration, devising many strategies to integrate rather than resegregate the village. Oak Park includes three historic districts for the historic homes: Ridgeland, Frank Lloyd Wright and Seward Gunderson, reflecting the focus on historic preservation.

Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Oak Ridge is a city in Anderson and Roane counties in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Tennessee, about 25 miles (40 km) west of Knoxville. Oak Ridge's population was 29,330 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Knoxville Metropolitan Area. Oak Ridge's nicknames include the Atomic City, the Secret City, the Ridge, and the City Behind the Fence.Oak Ridge was established in 1942 as a production site for the Manhattan Project—the massive American, British, and Canadian operation that developed the atomic bomb. As it is still the site of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex, scientific development still plays a crucial role in the city's economy and culture in general.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is an American multiprogram science and technology national laboratory sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and administered, managed, and operated by UT–Battelle as a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) under a contract with the DOE. ORNL is the largest science and

energy national laboratory in the Department of Energy

system by size and by annual budget. ORNL is located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, near Knoxville. ORNL's scientific programs focus on materials,

neutron science, energy, high-performance computing,

systems biology and national security.

ORNL partners with the state of Tennessee, universities and industries to solve challenges in energy, advanced materials, manufacturing, security and physics.

The laboratory is home to several of the world's top supercomputers including the world's most powerful supercomputer ranked by the TOP500, Summit, and is a leading neutron science and nuclear energy research facility that includes the Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor. ORNL hosts the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, the BioEnergy Science Center, and the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light-Water Reactors.

Oak leaf cluster

An oak leaf cluster is a miniature bronze or silver twig of four oak leaves with three acorns on the stem that is authorized by the United States Armed Forces as a ribbon device for a specific set of decorations and awards of the Department of Defense, Department of the Army, and Department of the Air Force to denote subsequent decorations and awards.The bronze oak leaf cluster represents one additional award, while the silver oak leaf cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze oak leaf clusters.

Oakland International Airport

Oakland International Airport (IATA: OAK, ICAO: KOAK, FAA LID: OAK) is an international airport in Oakland, California, United States. It is located approximately 10 miles south of Downtown Oakland and across from San Francisco which is situated on the other side of the San Francisco Bay. It is owned by the Port of Oakland and features passenger services to cities in the United States, Mexico, and Europe with additional cargo destinations in China and Japan. In 2018, 13,594,251 people traveled through OAK.Oakland is an operating base for Southwest Airlines and a focus city for Allegiant Air. As of August 2015 Southwest has 120 daily departures on peak-travel days of the week making it Southwest’s largest operation in California. Alaska Airlines combined with sister-carrier Horizon Air has been the second-busiest carrier at the airport through 2013. In January 2014, Delta overtook Alaska as the airport's No. 2 carrier.

Quercus robur

Quercus robur, commonly known as common oak, pedunculate oak, European oak or English oak, is a species of flowering plant in the beech and oak family, Fagaceae. It is native to most of Europe west of the Caucasus. The tree is widely cultivated in temperate regions and has escaped into the wild in scattered parts of China and North America.

Royal Oak, Michigan

Royal Oak is a city in Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is a suburb of Detroit. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 57,236. It is the 8th-largest municipality in Oakland County and the 27th-largest municipality in Michigan by population.

SS Red Oak Victory

SS Red Oak Victory is a U.S. military Victory ship of the Boulder Victory-class cargo ship used in the Second World War. She was preserved to serve as a museum ship in Richmond, California, and is part of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park. She was one of 534 Victories built during World War II, but one of only a few of these ships to be transferred from the Merchant Marine to the United States Navy. She was named after Red Oak, Iowa, which suffered a disproportionate number of casualties in early World War II battles. (Montgomery County ranked third among Iowa counties in World War II casualties per capita). The ship was active during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

The Curse of Oak Island

The Curse of Oak Island is an active reality television series that first premiered in Canada on the History network on January 5, 2014. The show features what is known as the Oak Island mystery, showing efforts to search for historical artifacts and treasure.

The Oak Ridge Boys

The Oak Ridge Boys are an American country and gospel vocal quartet. The group was founded in the 1940s as the Oak Ridge Quartet. They became popular in southern gospel during the 1950s. Their name was changed to the Oak Ridge Boys in the early 1960s, and they remained a gospel group until the mid-1970s, when they changed their image and concentrated on country music.

The lineup which produced their most well-known country and crossover hits (such as "Elvira" (1981), "Bobbie Sue" (1982), and "American Made" consists of Duane Allen (lead), Joe Bonsall (tenor), William Lee Golden (baritone), and Richard Sterban (bass). Golden and Allen joined the group in the mid-1960s, and Sterban and Bonsall joined in the early 1970s. Aside from an eight-year gap (1987–95) when Golden left the group and was replaced, this lineup has been together since 1973 and continues to tour and record.

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