Mystery-Tree-2016-01

An oak from Jim in SC

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Hi Dr. Hill, I wonder if you do trees. Here is one of three about the same diameter and about 15 feet tall, growing about 6 feet apart from each other, in a bottom of a hardwood forest in Lancaster County, SC. I haven’t located a parent tree. I haven’t been photographing flowers since spring gave way to summer, but I lie in my hammock, which operates like a blind of sorts–as long as I am horizontal, and still, I’m no threat–and photograph birds in my yard. What a life. I’ll get back into asking about flowers in March of next year! — Jim

Hi Jim,

this is one of two oaks, and I am not positive which. They are Laurel oak, Quercus laurifolia, and Willow oak, Quercus phellos. There is a good discussion of laurel oak here: https://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/silvics_manual/volume_2/quercus/laurifolia.htm Some have called it Quercus hemisphaerica also, and there are differences of opinion.  Willow oak can be found here: https://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/silvics_manual/volume_2/quercus/phellos.htm Willow oak has the narrowest leaves of the native oaks and measurements of the leaf width should help in deciding on the species.

Sincerely,

Steve Hill, Botanist, SCNPS

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