During nut season it is only natural for some of us to keep our eyes on the ground to see what nuts are hitting the ground around us. We might pretend that it’s because we don’t want to slip and fall on some of those slick balls of squirrel bait. But it’s really because we want to see what type of nuts they are. I’ve found a lot of different acorns this way, and this year was no exception ... but it is getting harder and harder to find new ones!
|Overcup oak, Quercus lyrata|
On a lunch out to a new pizza place in Alpharetta I discovered overcup oak, Quercus lyrata. The large acorns were all over the ground in the back of the parking lot. Kudos to the landscape designer that decided to use such an unusual tree in a parking lot design. The large cup nearly covers the acorn so the common name should come as no surprise. The large cup has a purpose, of course; it provides buoyancy, allowing the acorn to float safely to a new location in flood conditions. Another common name for this species is swamp post oak; it grows in areas like river floodplains and poorly drained bottomlands.
|Live oak, Quercus virginiana|
The second acorn that I collected this year grows down the road a bit from me. It is an evergreen oak that I noticed as soon as I moved into the area; I was always puzzled by what species it might be. I decided to stop this year and look for acorns. I also collected some leaves. It appears to be a live oak, Quercus virginiana, which is normally native to the coastal plain area of Georgia.
I expect that someone collected some acorns or a seedling elsewhere and brought it home as a souvenir. Now it has grown in to a huge tree, tall and straight and quite unlike the wind-swept trees that I have seen on the coast. I will try to germinate some of these acorns and see how it grows for me.
If you are interesting in my previous acorn blogs, here are the links:
2010: Nuts About Nuts
2011: Score! New Acorns for Me
2011: Parking Lot Oaks