Page:The Oak.djvu/92

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74
THE OAK.

occupies the center; around this, arranged in a close spiral, are several young rudiments of foliage leaves, each consisting of meristem, the cells of which are undergoing divisions. The youngest leaf is next the apex of the cone—i.e., the order of development is acropetal—and each is folded with the upper surfaces of each half in contact; two extremely minute stipules accompany each leaf. Lower down on the cone come the numerous (about thirty) overlapping scales, and between several pairs of the upper of these the male inflorescences develop. The female inflorescences are developed in the axils of two or three of the above-described true leaves in a terminal bud; they are not normally formed in the lateral buds of the shoot (see Chapter IX).

All the leaves of the shoot may have such buds formed in their axils during the summer, but only some of them develop in the following spring; it is the buds in the axils of the lower leaves of the shoot which usually come to nothing.

The normal course of events is that the bud-scales (stipules) become dry, and the protected growing-point, with its rudimentary leaves and flowers, passes into a dormant condition lasting through the winter; but it is a very common event, especially in a wet autumn following a dry, hot summer, to find the winter buds beginning to shoot out in August, and not passing into the prolonged state of dormancy. Such shoots are known as Lammas shoots. In some districts the oak