Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mighty California White Oak Tree

Over the summer we loved sitting under the shade of a Coast Live Oak tree in our neighborhood park.  Well, as nature study goes, you start to notice all the details of what becomes your subject.  Not because your told to but because you are near it so much that you can't help but explore all it's intricacies.  An image has been set.

The school year activities began and so did my running around.  One Thursday afternoon for a particular choir practice; the boys and I ended up at a park near our church while we waited for the girls.  Mind you, we've been to this park plenty of times, but this day was a little different...the boys really paid attention to the Oak trees.  They knew they were oaks, but they didn't look like our summer shade tree at all. 

California White Oak or Valley Oak - Quercus lobata
The leaves were certainly different:

But yet, it still had acorns ... different shape and color though:

Needless to say they got busy doing what they do best: explored, played and stuffed their pockets with take home treasures.

Forward to this past weekend, while on a hike with friends, my kids noticed both the Coastal Live Oak and a lonely California White Oak on the same trail.  We brought home a few branches of both and put them in some water (because our previous treasures were of course pretty dried up).  Their enthusiasm was contagious and I couldn't help but want to look up more Oak trees.  We found a site with a nice comparison page of Common California Oak Trees at HastingsReserve.org.  Look around there is some pretty neat information.  (the site names it Valley Oak, notice the acorn is longer than the Oregon Oak mentioned on the page with a similar leaf) Here's the Wikipedia link for Valley Oak (my husband and I are used to calling them White Oaks rather than Valley, but that's just the name we grew up with). 

What can I say...Oak trees are on our radar now!  There is another trail we've hiked in which I'm pretty sure I've seen Black Oak trees.  I'm hoping to go there soon ; )


Silvia said...

Amazing... you are all great naturalists!

Celeste said...

Thanks for the resource! We're in CA too, so it should be very useful--I'm going to take it along with us to our nature outing this week because we're headed to a park with several different oaks.