Friday, May 22, 2015

Spring 3c: Oaks

The many species of Oaks divide naturally into two groups: the white oak group has leaves with rounded lobes and bears acorns that mature the same year, while the red oak group has bristle-tipped lobes and acorns that mature the second year.  I used to think I knew the local oaks--white, red, black, scarlet, scrub black, and so on--pretty well, except for annoyingly common hybrids.  Now, though, I'm not so sure: it turns out hybrids are much rarer than I'd believed, and I was really being fooled by diversity within species.  I've decided we probably have few or no scarlet oaks, but many black.

Red oak (Quercus rubra) May 4th (2), 5th, 7th (2), 8th (2), 11th and 16th.

Black oak (Quercus velutina) photos include several trees.  April 29th,
May 4th, 5th (2), 7th (2), 8th (2),
13th (2) and 19th (2).

White oak (Quercus alba) is last of this neighborhood trio of species to bloom.  White oak can be told at a glance from the others by its rounded leaf lobes and light-gray bark that peels like long vertical shingles.  Three of the four photos are of the same branch.  None are within reach.

White oak: May 7th,
 11th, 16th and 19th.

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