Bringing the Outdoors In

acorns

Every autumn I enjoy collecting a few acorns and sprouting them on my kitchen windowsill. These two, left and right, are chestnut oak and white oak, respectively, both species in the white oak group. Members of this group, in contrast to the red oaks, have leaves with rounded lobes, the leaf veins don’t protrude beyond the leaf margins, and the acorns take just one year to mature. Their tissues contain less tannin, making them more attractive to wildlife. So, in an effort to survive being eaten the minute they hit the ground, these acorns sprout roots immediately, followed in the spring by short leafy shoots. Bringing them inside throws them off — indoors, these acorns will produce shoots soon after their roots have begun to develop. The white oak acorn (on the right) already has a slender shoot starting. Stay tuned for more developments!

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