If you haven’t yet been beaned by a gravity-inspired acorn at the Arnold Arboretum, you are missing something wonderful. With 776 accessioned oak trees (genus Quercus) in the living collections, there are plenty of opportunities right now. For the past month, I have been enjoying everything from the majestic architecture of our older oaks such as the red oak (Quercus rubra, 22888*A) at the top of Bussey Hill to the beautiful maturing acorns of a scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea, 693-2010*A) just inside the Mendum Street Gate on Peters Hill; the unusual cut leaf form of the daimyo (or Japanese emperor) oak (Quercus dentata ‘Pinnatifida’, 1379-67*A) off the beaten path just behind the propagation nursery beds near Centre Street; and the invitingly huggable bark (try it) of the Oriental (or Chinese cork) oak (Quercus variabilis, 2671*A) on the east side of Bussey Hill growing amidst many of its Asian congeners.
There are times when oaks seem merely commonplace in our environments, from city trees to backyard plantings, and woodlands. But there is something meaningful to experience if you just take a moment to stop and take in the unique and complex individuality of a single oak tree. That is exactly what I think each acorn bouncing off our heads is trying to remind us of!
To see a few more acorn photographs, head over to the following flickr album: Acorns of the Arnold Arboretum.