(12) HARDWOOD TREES OF BRITAIN
The hardwood timber trees of Great Britain are characterized by the comparative hardness and durability of their wood, and comprise the oak, ash, elm, beech, sweet chestnut, walnut, and Robinia or false acacia.
The British oak includes two sub-species, the stalked fruited or most common oak, Quercus pedunculata, and the stalkless fruited or less common oak, Quercus sessiliflora. The latter grows more erected and more rapidly than the other, particularly if the soil be good. in England and the lowlands of Scotland, Q. pedunculata is the commoner of the two oaks; but in North Wales and the hill parts of northern England , Q sessiliflora is more frequent. Intermediate forms between these two oaks are found in England and elsewhere, and the leading botanists of the day unite them under the old name of Q. Robur. The wood of the oak is the strongest and most durable of all British timber-trees; but on account of the slowness of its growth it is not always the most eligible for planting.
Oak plantations are more valuable than other when in a young state, on account of their bark. From the demand for oak as ship-timber, the price of trees fit for that purpose is always considerable; but the largest trunks employed in naval architecture do not afford an adequate return for the number of years they have stood on the ground. Accordingly, we find that the Governments both of France and England grow this description of timber largely in national forests.
The wood of the oak is applicable to a greater number of uses than that of most other trees. Houses. Ships, furniture, and machines may be formed almost entirely of oak, and consequently there is a ready sale for this timber almost everywhere. Hence there is more inducement to plant it in Britain than any other hard-wood tree. It is easily raised from acorns, which ought to be collected from the most vigorous trees.
The British oak is a native of most parts of Europe, but not of Asia, Africa, or America.
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