Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Old Main Meadow, north of Wilson Library Map

There are two of these trees near the library. The broader is located across High Street from the bookstore. It occasionally bears leaves low enough to examine. The other, more majestic and somewhat taller, grows near the SW corner of Old Main, near tree BL. The GPS location given below will lead you to the former tree, which also is the one shown in the photograph on the left. The other also deserves an admiring look.

Bur oaks have the largest acorns and amongst the largest leaves of all of genus Quercus. They tend to be large trees; specimens topping 150 ft are known in their native range (eastern North America, from Manitoba to Texas, and eastward to New England). Outside that range, however, trees exceeding 100 ft. are rare. Ours probably is at least 80 years old and is about 80 ft. tall.

Bur oaks provide useful wood for the construction industry, for railroads, and for mining. It is (or was) highly prized for timbering by the coal miners of Kansas. It also is a good urban tree (given enough space), in that it has above average resistance to the usual environmental blights of city life. In fact, Quercus macrocarpa was chosen "Tree of the Year" by City Trees Magazine.