Page:The Oak.djvu/139

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CHAPTER IX.


THE TREE (continued). INFLORESCENCE AND FLOWERS—FRUIT AND SEED.


The oak flowers in May in this country, the young inflorescences developing as the leaves unfold. The flowers are unisexual, both male and female appearing on the same branches—i.e., the tree is monœcious—and even on the same twigs of the current year. The rule is that the apical bud of a last year's twig produces a few male inflorescences from between the axils of the upper scales, and then grows out into a green twig bearing about six to ten normal leaves, the female inflorescences arising from the axils of two or three of the upper leaves (Figs. 31 and 32). Lateral buds below the terminal bud of the last year's twig usually produce male inflorescences only—a phenomenon in accordance with their feeble development generally. Thus the male inflorescences are produced first—a common occurrence in forest trees.

Since the inflorescences arise from the axils of leaves, their arrangement accords with the phyllotaxis of the tree—i.e., ⅖—so far as it goes. It should be borne in mind that the bud-scales are stipules.