red oak family id

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by Dixie, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    I am having trouble identifying this oak. I know it is in the red oak family since it is bristle tipped. The leaves are about 4 to 7 inches long. The acorns are starting to form and the cap is covering most of the fruit. The bark is very smooth and gray. From afar, it is similar to Quercus acutissima, but it is not. I have two pictures of this mystery oak and one of a Quercus acutissima for comparison. I am stumped any help would be appreciated. I recall Ron B. saying that oaks can hybridize, maybe this is why I am not having any luck? Thanks.
     

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  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It's a true red oak (i.e., Quercus sect. Lobatae), which Q. acutissima isn't (that's in the Eurasian section Quercus sect. Cerris).

    The red oaks do hybridise, quite freely. So getting it identified isn't going to be easy. At a guess, one of the parents will be a lobed-leaf species (e.g. Q. rubra, Q. palustris, Q. nigra, etc.), and the other parent one of the entire-leaved species (e.g. Q. phellos, Q. imbricaria, etc).

    The US Forest Service have however recently produced a field guide to eastern North American oaks, available free as a pdf download here (note: 8.5 megabytes!):
    http://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/technology/fieldguide.pdf
    I'd think a look through that is your best opportunity for getting it identified.
     
  3. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    Thanks Michael F. What a wonderful reference. I still did not find it in that whole 175 page booklet. I know that they were purchased and planted about 10-12 years ago, way before my time. They are all planted together in a straight line along a road in a cemetery, maybe about 10 total trees. So they must have been purchased and planted by someone. I will keep searching. Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    Still mystified. I went through lists, upon lists of the different oaks all over the world!!! I found three that possibly look similar. Quercus canbyi, Quercus graciliformis, and Quercus rhysophylla. I am still not convinced that any of these are it. All three of these are listed to grow in southern Texas and Mexico, which are totally different zones than where I'm at in Arkansas (zone 7). Any ideas would still be appreciated. I am desperately seeking the right one. I have completed, except for knowing what these are, a tree inventory of a cemetery which is basically all eastern red cedar and post oaks, pretty easy, I thought. Then there were these, that have completely puzzled me. Does anyone out there know?
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    One on the right looks like Quercus acutissima, whereas the other two shots appear to be someting else. I think I have seen the second one in a nursery here that I buy from, may even have planted one at some point. But I do not remember the naming and it would have to be compared closely with yours to check this.

    If you are just looking at pictures for the most part you need to start paying more attention to descriptions and the details those focus on, including acorns in order to have something raise its hand.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2006
  6. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    Yes, the third one is Quercus acutissima. I put the picture in there to show that it is kind of similar in appearance. Quercus canbyi is the most similar, acorns and all. There isn't much about it though on the internet to be certain. What I did find said it is readily found in southern Texas and Mexico, so I figured it would get too cold where I am at for that to be it. This has been an all day search. It has now turned into a quest, I will somehow figure it out. If Quercus phellos and Quercus falcata had a baby, I think this would be it.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The hybrid Q. phellos x Q. falcata does exist, it even has a name, Quercus x ludoviciana.

    There's a photo of the foliage about a third of the way down in this link (another huge pdf, sorry!):
    http://www.dendrologie.be/_pdf/JB_2003_pictures.pdf
    It certainly seems to match your pics quite well.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Now that you mention it, the similar one I have seen in cultivation here, in small sizes is I think Quercus canbyi. I think the one I planted didn't make it, so I have not been observing it in leaf this spring and didn't remember the name.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2006
  9. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    Thank you both for your reply. I appreciate it. Hopefully I can confirm what it is soon. Thanks.
     
  10. Mycos

    Mycos Active Member

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    Oak ID

    Yes, I've been trying to establish an ID firm enough that I would feel comfortable putting it up here, but unfortunately I'm going to have to chicken out and quote the one thing I keep seeing around the internet, and that's that oaks appear to have a particular affinity toward hybrid forms. That's enough of an excuse for me to duck out and head back to the Fungi And Lichen ID section with some of my pride still intact anyhow ;-)
     

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