Tag Archives: Quercus

Quercus Closeup

In typical spring fashion, our April weather has run the gamut. Luckily, we’ve had more than of our share of “just right” conditions for gardening, with cool temperatures warmed by sunshine. A few days ago, however, our first major thunderstorm swept through with a squall line of strong winds and heavy rain.

Thankfully, we didn’t experience any damage and in the course of picking up the small branches that always litter the garden after high winds, I found something amazing.

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Comparison of mid-April foliage of white and red oaks.

It was the branch tip of a white oak heavy with catkins (the male flowers that produce the wind-borne pollen that fertilize the female flowers) and best of all–tiny, perfectly formed baby leaves.

There are more than 600 species of oak worldwide (60 in North America) and the genus, Quercus, comprises two groups, white oaks and red oaks. White oaks, which typically have rounded lobes on their leaves, produce acorns that mature in a single year, while red oaks have pointed lobes and acorns that mature in two years.

Additionally, the groups can usually, but not always, be distinguished by their bark. In general, white oaks have bark that is a light to medium shade of gray, sometimes exhibiting a scaly appearance, while the bark of red oaks is typically darker in color and lined with deep furrows.

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Comparison of the treetops, with the white oak on the far left.

Here, in my garden, the red oaks break dormancy a week or two before the white, and if you look at the treetops now, you can clearly see the difference. There is an even greater contrast in autumn, as the white oaks cling to their leaves into early December, well after all other deciduous trees are bare.

Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day

When I arrived home last week from a visit to my mother in Virginia, it seemed as if the garden had been magically transformed by the wand of a Fairy Godmother, bippidi-boppidi-boo!  Since it was late afternoon, I grabbed my camera before going into the house to take these photos for Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day.

Fullmoon Japanese maple (Acer japonicum) in the front garden.

Fullmoon Japanese maple (Acer japonicum) in the front garden.

Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) in the front garden.

Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) in the front garden.

Serviceberry 'Autumn Brilliance' (Amelanchier x grandiflora) in the back garden.

Serviceberry ‘Autumn Brilliance’ (Amelanchier x grandiflora) in the back garden.

Pignut hickory (Carya glabra) in the wild garden on the middle terrace down to the river.  (Thankfully, so far, the beaver has stayed on the lower terrace adjacent to the riverbank.)

Pignut hickory (Carya glabra) in the wild garden on the middle terrace down to the river. (Thankfully, so far, the beaver has stayed on the lower terrace adjacent to the riverbank.)

The next-door neighbor's maple (Acer), in her front garden.

The next-door neighbor’s maple (Acer), in her front garden.

The oaks (Quercus) towering over the house will be the last to let go of their leaves.

The oaks (Quercus) towering over the house will be the last to let go of their leaves.

Thanks to Christina of Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for encouraging us to take a closer look at foliage each month. Be sure to visit and follow the links to other blogs sharing photos today.