Garry Oak - Yale BC

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest Native Plants' started by Georgia Strait, Oct 25, 2021.

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  1. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    I recently came across this article from 2019 - link below

    I think the author is a history prof at UVic

    and I know several times we’ve typed in the threads about Garry Oak trees

    Including the grove at Yale BC … of all the unexpected places

    did someone say there are some Garry Oak around Cultus or Vedder (Chilliwack) too?

    i thought you’d be especially interested @Margot with your recent generous offer on this forum of acorns from your own property.

    The curious story of Yale’s Garry Oak grove
     
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  2. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    What an interesting story; thank you Georgia for posting it. At the very least it seems likely that the Cowichan people must have brought the Garry Oak acorns with them - and likely not to eat or trade since they aren't very palatable. It doesn't sound as though any camas have been found near the Yale site but probably too cold for them to overwinter. Who knows?

    EDIT I just read that both Camas leichtlinii and C. quamash are hardy from Zone 3 to 8. I'm sure Yale is not nearly as cold as Zone 3 so, if the Cowichan people brought Garry Oaks to establish a meadow, wouldn't they have brought some of the other plants that grow there, like camas? And (just conjecturing), if they did bring camas, what could have happened to them - assuming there are none to be found there.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Oak Harbor, Washington, was a village location of the Skagit Tribe.[2] It is speculated the presence of Garry oaks originated from native people and encampments of northern visiting parties. According to an oral history given in 1979 by Cyrus James, of Upper Snoqualmie descent, the people of the Cowichan Tribe of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, were on friendly terms with a mix of local tribes that lived on or traveled through Whidbey Island, even intermarrying with them. [3] It is conceivable that acorns were brought from the abundant supply of Garry oaks on Vancouver Island, effectively reseeding the oaks of Whidbey for hundreds of years. Though bitter in taste, acorns were a reliable source of protein for native people. The natives also managed the Garry oak meadows on Whidbey through the practice of controlled burns. This allowed for cultivation of the blue camas bulb, bracken fern, and other important sources of carbohydrates for the native people.[4]

    Local Garry Oak History - Oak Harbor Garry Oak Society (ohgarryoaksociety.org)

    [Recent genetic testing has shown Garry oaks for some distance south of Vancouver Island to be from BC and common camas on Whidbey Island to be from east of the Cascade Mountains]
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2021
  4. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    i am curious about the footnote (recent genetic testing ….) in your post

    can you tell us more about where and when and who and so forth ?

    also - are the oak trees around Vanc WASHINGTON - and in the Willamette Valley the same as Garry Oaks?
    I am confused by the term « white oak » and would plant experts consider it the same as Garry oak.

    there is a magnificent grove of oaks at Champoeg State Park just south of Portland OR on the south shore of Willamette River (west of I-5)

    i think this site was a farm to supply HBC Fort Vanc up on the Columbia River (it also was site of an important meeting to form Oregon)
     
  5. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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  6. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Vitog - that is a very interesting article as are several others attached to it such as "Garry Oaks Declining in Endangered Ecosystem"
    Garry Oaks Declining in Endangered Ecosystem - Current Results

    In a bit of understatement, it explains that . . . using prescribed burning (at Rocky Point near Victoria, BC) to restore the (Garry Oak) ecosystem is fraught with problems, including the Department of National Defence's stockpile of ammunition stored nearby. :-)

    I'm going to bookmark the website Articles on Forest Ecology in British Columbia - Current Results you mention above; looks like lots of good reading.

     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Nightmare! If they don't do any prescribed burning, the fuel loads in the environment will slowly build up, then one day there'll be a far more devastating natural fire, and the ammo store will go 'pop' . . . :o/
     
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  8. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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