Looking at trees in parking lots is a habit of mine. I can’t help but glance over with curiosity at what appears to be an unusual tree. Just when I think I’ve seen all the possible choices, a new one shows up. A new one that I found in November required some help to identify and, of course, I learned a lot in the process.
|The mystery oak that turned out to be Quercus ellipsoidalis|
I gathered up some acorns and leaves and took pictures of the tree. When I got home, I pulled out my favorite Eastern oak identification guide and my hand lens. To my puzzlement, the tree seemed to be northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis).
Recognizing that I could use some help, I emailed a friend who then brought in another knowledgeable friend. He confirmed that it was northern pin oak, and that designers sometimes spec by common name (e.g., “pin oak”) which leads to a mixture of species being planted. Species that might be grown and delivered as “pin oak” include Quercus palustris, Q. shumardii, Q. texana, and Q. ellipsoidalis.
In the course of this long discussion about identification points via email, I asked for verification of a parking lot tree that I had identified as Q. texana and gave him a link to my blog post. It turns out that I was mistaken, that plant was Q. shumardii (and I have since corrected that post). He gave me a location in Cobb County to find some Q. texana and I went over to check it out. Included here are pictures of those trees.
|Quercus texana (different tree than above to show variance)|
So concludes another chapter in the story of parking lot oaks. Just when I think that I can't possibly find anything new, another one shows up. This makes two new ones this year.
I certainly enjoy the challenge that landscapers and nurserymen like to throw our way, and I’m grateful to friends that help me get to the truth.