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Majestic Oaks Near Bussey Hill

by William (Ned) Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum
November 3, 2015


Majestic Oaks Near Bussey Hill

oaks_DirectorsBlog14This week, as I wandered the Arboretum, I kept returning to the southeast side of Bussey Hill (just off Beech Path) to be among some venerable Asian oaks, and in particular, Quercus variabilis, the oriental oak or Chinese cork oak. I am drawn to these trees because of their deeply furrowed bark, their smooth brown fruits (the “acorn” – bottom right) and over-the-top caps (the “cupule” – top). The cupules, with their unruly curled tough awl-shaped scale leaves, are all over the ground under each tree. I also love the fact that while autumn is everywhere around us, the leaves on this species of oak haven’t even begun to rescind the deep green of summertime (bottom left). No reds, no golds –  just stoic size and majestic basic colors.

As for provenance, it all starts with a nice nineteenth century specimen (3671*) collected by Charles Sprague Sargent (first Director of the Arboretum) during his travels to Japan in 1892. John Jack (Arboretum dendrologist, educator, and plant explorer – Arnoldia article) got into the game with an accession (18053*A) from his travels to Asia in 1905. A 1908 specimen (17631*A) collected by Ernest Henry Wilson grows just yards away, as well as a much younger tree (753-94*A) from the 1994 NACPEC (North America China Plant Exploration Consortium) collecting expedition to China.

Ned Friedman, Director of the Arnold Arboretum

2 thoughts on “Majestic Oaks Near Bussey Hill

  1. Dear Dr. Friedman:
    My partner Christian Boegner and I walk at Arnold three or four times a week – even in the deep snow. Christian is a member, but we do not see the opportunity to become more deeply involved in the life of such a wonderful place. Do you have events or classes in the fall or winter, or can you recommend adult courses for those who would love to learn more?
    thank you for your blogs


    Mary Rogers

  2. Hi Mary,

    We are so glad you enjoy the Arboretum in all seasons, and greatly appreciate you and your partner’s support. We do offer winter classes, which are listed at New classes are added to this page, so check back often. You can click on ‘calendar’ at the top right corner of that page to see classes, walks, art shows, and other events in a calendar view. If you’d like to receive emails about events, lectures, guided tours, class highlights, and other Arboretum news, you can also subscribe to our mailing list at the bottom of this page. We hope you will attend some of our upcoming classes!

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