Sunday, March 20, 2011

coast live oak ~ 03/20/11 ~ Fort Ord

older coast live oak with lace lichen
Quercus agrifolia var. agrifolia with Ramalina menziesii

posted 03/25/11 - This is the best ID you're going to get from me this morning. I wasn't feeling well during the night, which makes for an unpleasantly grumpy Katie. Add to the fact that I have difficulty identifying most trees.

I need help. Can anyone ID these and help me name the flower-ish parts? I think I have at least 2 different live oaks shown above... possibly. I can't imagine the first two pics are the same species as the last two pics. Either one is, at least I believe, coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia var. agrifolia). There are 7 species/subspecies of oaks recorded for Fort Ord and I'm too tired to figure out which ones are which. Three species in the list are called "live oaks": Quercus agrifolia, Q. chrysolepis, and Q. wislizeni. If you're curious and look at my embedded links, you'll see the subspecies look very different, with some having smooth leaf margins and others having jagged leaves.

I plant to edit this post with better information once I feel a bit better.

ps 03/28/11 - I originally posted this simply as live oaks, meaning oaks that keep their leaves throughout the year. After much help from commenters below and searching online, I've finally decided both sets of pictures are of the same species but different ages. Having looked into douglas-firs and Monterey pines, I know trees can change shape considerably as they mature. I found Cindy's comments below (of the Dipper Ranch blog fame) to be very informative. Also, Hastings Reserve and Las Pilitas Nursery have great keys and information about oaks specifically found in Monterey County and California. The next time I'm out at Fort Ord, I'll do my best to check the leaves, but I'm fairly confident of these IDs now.


biobabbler said...

I am NOT an oak expert but I have 4 things to relate to you.

1. The 1st pic definitely is Quercus agrifolia (leaf curving convexly, I assume pokey spikey leaf points felt when it's in your hand), but you probably knew that.

2. While working on my thesis, I asked a pretty good plant guy (fire ecologist) for help with oaks and he gave general guidance but basically said don't kill yourself over it because oaks hybridize like mad, so DNA analysis may be necessary to be certain. That was not something I was going to tackle (not the focus of my study), so I said okay! I can distinguish Q.a., Q. dumosa, Q. wislizenii, and Q. englemanii (on that site), so called it good. Sorry not more helpful--they can be super tough!

3. Catkins are the droopy things. Basically the tree's flowers, per wiki.

4. Check this site out, amazing information: That's just 1 spp, but I'm sure there's more! They talk about hybridization, too.

=) Hope you feel better! bb

texwisgirl said...

We've got catkins on our oaks right now so I agree with #3 above.

That 3rd photo is just beautiful by the way...

Anonymous said...

I don't know about oaks but I do know what will help cheer you:

Cindy said...

Coast live oaks QUAG have underarm hair. Seriously, turn the leaf over, look for a little puff of golden hair at the intersection of the main vein with the side vein. Check several leaves because not every leaf has it. Often the QUAG leaf is cupped, especially those on Ft Ord, but not always (my friend calls them whiskey shot oaks when they are). Canyon oak QUCH have a dense, short felty coating of gold, silver or grey hairs across the entire bottom surface of the leaf (not to be mixed up with tanoaks which have felty underside too, however, they have very exact pattern of veins that look like a parking lot). Interior oaks QUWI are pretty much the same color on both sides of the leaf, no hairs. Although you might actually have Shreve oak (Quercus parvula var. shrevei) in that area. Ignore the spiny-ness of the leaf edges - it varies by the amount of sunlight and browsing even on the same tree. I need to find the time to post my simple key to oaks of the central CA coast. Hastings Reserve has a lot of good info for your area. Oaks are ancient and amazing.

James said...

I'm afraid I don't have much to add--I'm not at all an oak expert, and all the talk about hybridization scared me away from trying to key them all out. For instance, for my local scrub oaks, Tom Chester has a draft paper at which I wouldn't attempt until you're feeling better.

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Haha! I so appreciate you blog followers. I think I'm going to shelve oak IDs for another day, perhaps when I can get out to Fort Ord again and take the time to feel and look at "pokey spikey leaf points" and "underarm hair." Sigh. I was hoping someone would say right off the bat that the first 2 pics with catkins are definitely a different species than the last 2 pics, which I have always thought to be classic coast live oaks - but I could be totally wrong. I found all these trees within 5 minutes of our hike and they look totally different to me. Don't they look different to you? I didn't get closer pics of the last 2 due to prolific growth of poison-oak (not Quercus sp.) at the bases.

bb, did you see my recent comment on your old Lophocampa caterpillar post? Here's my latest:

twg,I do follow your blog, but when you have 72 comments, I hesitate to add to the mix. You're way popular.

Janet, I love that link, mainly b/c it's a live cam and not just a recorded video.

Cindy, please let me know if and when you post about oaks. You always have such great information.

James, hybridization scares me, too, for IDs! When I'm not feeling so achy, I'll check out your link.

Allison said...

Very interesting. I grew up in Arcadia and visited Live Oak park frequently. I've never known what a Live Oak is until now!

biobabbler said...

@Katie: Yes, finally processed your comment when I had time to look at your bug and mine. =) See new comment on that post. Thanks so much!

Re: Oaks, here's a post you may appreciate: It's about the oracle oak. Her 1st sentence sounds like YOU--MUST learn what things are. =)