Page:The Oak.djvu/40

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22
THE OAK.


minute bud in its axil. When the primary shoot has attained a length of about three inches there are usually two of these small scale-leaves placed nearly opposite one another close to the tip, and a little longer and narrower
Fig. 4—Germinating acorn, showing the manner of emergence of the primary shoot, and the first scales (stipules) on the latter. (After Rossmässler)
than those lower down on the shoot; from between these two linear structures the first true green foliage leaf of the oak arises, its short stalk being flanked by them. This first leaf is small, but the tip of the shoot goes on elongating and throwing out others and larger ones, until by the end of the summer there are about four to six leaves formed, each with its minute stalk flanked by a pair of tiny linear scales ("stipules," as they are called) like those referred to above.

Each of the green leaves arises from a point on the young stem which is a little higher, and more to one side, than that from which the lowermost one springs; hence a line joining the points of insertion of the successive leaves describes an open spiral round the shoot axis—i. e., the stem—and this of such a kind that when the spiral comes to the sixth leaf up-