Monday, October 18, 2010

L-O-N-G Leaves

(Click to enlarge)

I was out walking these morning with the little one in the stroller and I saw these on the ground... then looked up into a whole tree of these:

(Click to enlarge)

I pretty much knew what it had to be (the leaf on the right in the uppermost photo starts to give some clues), but that sure isn't the way the leaves looked in my college Dendrology book.  Nowhere in a taxonomy of oaks in Minnesota are you going to find the phrase, "leaf sinuses (indentations) 3 inches long, with 3 lobes spanning a leaf stem of 12 to 14 inches."

But this being 2010 and this being the internet, it took about three and half seconds to find a guy that had taken virtually the identical photograph.

Yes, if you put a gun to my head (not a suggestion mind you, just a metaphor) and forced me to choose a species I'd say it's a bur oak.  But I'd also say there is no way that this is 100% bur oak.  It crossed with something somewhere along the line.

I love this line from the Dirt Doctor web site I linked to:

NATURAL HABITAT AND PREFERRED SITE: Bur oak is a resident of the tall grass prairie from north Central Texas to Central Texas. It will adapt to a wide range of garden and landscape conditions.

Such a great Texas-centric definition of the range of bur oak!  What? You mean bur oak's range extends beyond the borders of Texas?  (Yes, it has the largest range of any North American oak.)  What? You mean there are trees beyond the borders of Texas?  Classic.

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