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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Quercus virginiana - Southern Live Oak

The Southern Live Oak is a nice medium sized broad spreading tree commonly planted as a street tree in SC county. Usually reaching 30' and potentially wider than tall. Seems to be a nice tree. I guess I would be more excited if we had some massive ones like in the south where they can be 100' tall and 150' wide with massive trunks and covered with  lichens. 




Leaves alternate, simple, 1-1/2 to 5" long, variable shaped, from obovate to oblanceolate to elliptical to ovate, just like an oak to be difficult to pin down. Margins can be entire, or lightly spinose but usually rolled under, dark glossy green upper surface lighter to pubescent lower surface. Trees may experience a very short period of deciduousness prior to putting out the new leaves. It happens about the time the buds start to swell.



Male and female flowers separated on same plant, males in long catkins, females small and reddish color some distance from the end of the stem.



Acorns are dark brown, glossy, elliptical shaped 3/4 to 1" long, in clusters.



Bark with reddish brown color in between the shallow squared plates.




Misidentification:
Perhaps Q. ilex due to the non "normal" oak leaf, but these are longer and narrower leaves.

Location:
Capitola
Gross Rd and Soquel Ave intersection - frontage road off 41st


Santa Cruz
7th Ave lots along the side of the road.
2801 Soquel Ave in front of Big Creek Lumber
Capitola Rd in live oak

Soquel
4800 Bridge St - corner of Main

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