A Squirrel’s Dream: Acorns Aplenty

I do not ever recall seeing a larger crop of acorns on white oaks in Pennsylvania. Acorns are falling faster than the squirrels can collect them. My apartment is surrounded by white oaks, and every few moments I hear the thump of an acorn hitting the roof and the rattle it makes as it rolls to the edge.

This winter I expect to see some large squirrels.

So what exactly is an acorn? An acorn is a fruit formed by some genera in the Fagaceae family, the most famous genera being Quercus (oaks). An acorn is classified as an indehiscent, simple, dry fruit. The actual fruit is a nut derived from a compound ovary with a stony pericarp. It is an accessory that makes it a true acorn.

It’s all about the hat. The structure on the upper part of an acorn is called an involucre or cupule. It is a nut plus that structure that make up an acorn.

The parts of an acorn.

So an acorn is a styling nut rocking a beret or some other form of hat.

Acorn crops on oak trees will vary considerably in quantity from year to year, and different oak species produce acorns on different time frames and will often have abundant years that do not correspond. This happens to be a bumper year for white oak in Central PA.



Filed under Horticulture

2 responses to “A Squirrel’s Dream: Acorns Aplenty

  1. Lauretta Kulp

    Hi Ben, Karrie clued me in on your web page, and I find it so very interesting. Talking about trees would really be relaxing to my husband. You must come up and visit sometime. We have alot of different types in Maine that Dave even finds it hard to identify. I bet he would appreciate advice on how to utilize the forrest at Christian Family Park.

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