PLEASE HELP! Is this a valley oak (Quercus lobata)? Or a blue oak (Q. douglasii)? A hybrid? Even a hybrid with a leather oak (Q. durata)?? Email me, or leave a comment here or on any image!
You all know the oak. It sits near the intersection of Road F and Trail 15, on the right as you come from Escobar Gate. It is the last tree near Road F for a long distance, through the serpentine meadow along Road F, until you reach the blue oak forest and Trail 3.
There are several sections to this collection:
1. Your first view of this oak as you come from Escobar Gate. The oak in question is the small one on the horizon to the right of Road F -- not the prominent one in the foreground with all the mistletoe.
2. A view of this oak from each direction along Road F.
3. Closer views of trunk, leaves, branches.
4. Many images of this oak, organized by month, beginning with April and the new leaves. Many years of images are mixed together.
5. A few photos from above. Again, the lone oak in question sits near the intersection of Road F and Trail 15.
To me, the leaf looks like a valley oak. But the general configuration does not. Blue oaks tend to grow in groves, and valleys often grow alone. But I do know of lone blue oaks! Also, lone valley oaks might have mistletoe; blue oaks don't. This has none.
One more thing: a hint from Herb Dengler in 1998, after he had spent 8 decades on the Ridge: <http://news.stanford.edu/stanfordtoday/ed/9805/9805fea4.html>
"Over the years, a host of native California plants adapted and prospered on the serpentine rock. When early Europeans arrived, bringing with them various species of aggressive, adaptive grasses, forbs and other plants, many native plants were wiped out. But those European bullies never have been able to thrive on serpentine soils. Jasper Ridge's serpentine grassland, rich in plants with names like Ithuriel's spear and goldfields, remains an oasis for native plants.
"For eight decades this flowering grassland has been Dengler's favorite spot on the ridge. At one end towers a blue oak tree in which he cut a blaze 60 years ago when, as a young man, he came here to watch the annual spring bloom. "I used to mark different trees as a sort of message to friends who were coming up," he recalls. "Some years ago, my mother finally told me she and my father used to worry about me staying up here in the hills alone so much. But they realized they'd better not interfere. They knew I really loved it here, that I was safe."
Is this the "blue oak" referred to in the 1998 quote above? If so, does anyone know how to find Herb's mark on it??
Please let me know if you know the species of this lone oak! Dan Quinn
© Photography by Dan Quinn