Sunday, November 25, 2012

Acorn Discoveries

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:


  1. Just wanted to pop in and tell you how much I enjoy your posts and how much I've learned from them. Now past the half century mark, I'm just now becoming a bit of an amateur naturalist. :) Your blog is a treasure trove of information for me, especially since I am from South Georgia.
    I'm a bit of a nut over acorns too, so I was thrilled over your latest pictures and links to past posts.

    1. Well thank you for saying so and I'm glad you find the information useful.

  2. How fun that you found two new-to-you species close by. I have a few is definitely a live oak (I bought it at a nursery). The other two were planted by Mother Nature and I've yet to identify them. The one is too young for acorns, but the other has been around a while, so I think I will grab one or two to see if I can identify the species...that is if they bluejays left any.

    I did pick up a few acorns from the local supermarket and at my eye doctor office. I tried starting them in pots and my neighbor asked what kind of plant. I reported "a winn-dixie oak" and a filotowski. He looked at me oddly. So I explained where I got them from. Unfortunately I tried to transplant them and they didn't take. Either too much rain or too darn hot. I will try again now that you've inspired me and maybe leave them in planters a little longer and plant at a more prudent time of year.