You are here
North America is home to 91 species of oak trees. Astoundingly, the various species rarely, if ever, occur alone. Where one kind of oak is found, invariably at least one more will be found. How can nature support a setup like that when it operates on the principle that only the fittest survive in any one setting?
A study recently published in the American Journal of Botany has unearthed the secret: A unique evolutionary history that allows oak species to be different and similar at the same time — making them the most diverse and dominant trees species on the continent.
By Tom Ough
If there is such a thing as national talents, then the English are peerless in their acquisitive eye for a symbol. Lion? Just because the king of the jungle isn’t indigenous to Europe doesn’t mean he can’t have a Union flag draped over his haunch. Tea? Our temperate maritime climate is no good for cultivating tea shrubs, but their boiled leaves still make our national drink.
We know what makes a good emblem. Marmalade is Roman. Doesn’t matter. Queuing is universal. Ditto. Morris dancing is Spanish (look it up).
One-fourth of the United States’ oak species are now considered of conservation concern, according to data compiled by researchers at The Morton Arboretum for the latest update of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species™.
If you had been in northern Canada 45 million years ago, you might have encountered the distant ancestor of all of the oaks in the Americas. That single species gave rise to 220 more and two distinct lineages—red oaks and white oaks—that moved south through the boreal zone to populate large swaths of the continent all the way into Mexico.
The International Oak Society invites individuals with research projects contributing to advancing our knowledge about, or appreciation of, oaks or their conservation to submit applications for the Michael Heathcoat Amory Award.This award is in memory of Michael Heathcoat Amory (1941-2016), renowned oak collector, creator of the collection at Chevithorne Barton, and longtime supporter of the International Oak Society.
A sapling grown from an acorn harvested from the magnificent 1,350 year-old Offa's Oak in Windsor Great Park has been planted by the RFS as a gift to Her Majesty The Queen, the charity's Patron, to celebrate her 90th birthday.
The five-year-old English oak was presented by the charity's President, Sophie Churchill OBE, to the Queen’s representative, Admiral Sir James Perowne, Governor of Windsor Castle.
A new professional network is being formed by botanists and conservationists from across North and Central America. Oaks of the Americas Conservation Network (OACN) is a consortium of experts from universities, botanical gardens, arboreta, industry, conservation NGOs, and government agencies dedicated to protecting threatened oak species from extinction. OACN was first conceived at the International Workshop on Oak Conservation (March 13-16, 2016), where 50 experts from seven countries convened at the Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores at UNAM in Morelia, Mexico.