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Results tagged “fagaceae”

Apr 5, 2013: Chirripó National Park

Chirripó National Park

There aren't too many submissions of botanical landscape photographs via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool or other means, but it is important to take a step back sometime and enjoy the bigger picture. Thank you to Cody H. aka codiferous@Flickr for sharing this photograph many years ago, from a trip to Costa Rica (original image).

Cody wrote the following to go with the image: "A tropical montane oak forest, dominated by several species of Quercus called roble in the local Spanish dialects. Cloud moisture provides nourishment for the abundant mosses and epiphytes".

I'm on vacation, so I'll provide a few links for additional reading: Cloud Forests via Wikipedia and Cloud forest trees drink water through their leaves (recent research from UC Berkeley). Also, here's a traveller's account of "5 Ecosystems in 1 Day" in Chirripó National Park, via National Geographic.

Jul 18, 2012: Quercus garryana Ecosystems

Bryant is responsible for today's photographs and write-up. He scribes:

The other week, while I was contemplating topics for a series, Daniel handed me a book entitled Nature's Palette by David Lee. The book is written in a combination of scientific and layman's terms, and describes various aspects of colour in plants. It is a fascinating read and provides the inspiration and much of the source material for the following series on plant colour. In this series, I aim to investigate the functional, structural, historical, philosophical, economical and sociological connotations of colour in plants.

The first photograph is of a Camassia quamash meadow with the edge of a Quercus garryana grove in the background, taken at the Mt. Tzouhalem Ecological Reserve on Vancouver Island. The second image was taken at Harewood Plains near Nanaimo, British Columbia. The blues are again Camassia quamash while the pink in the background is Plectritis congesta.

When the Garry oak (or Oregon white oak) meadows and woodlands are in full bloom, they demonstrate some of the most vibrant and extraordinary mass blooms on the west coast of Canada. Unfortunately, Garry oak ecosystems are also among the most threatened ecosystems in all of Canada. When walking through a scene like this, it is hard not to be overcome by a feeling of euphoria, almost as if the vibrant colours have a physical effect on the body. Our appreciation for the beauty of this spectacular bloom is perhaps the reason why there is still Garry oak habitat left, and why there is such a dedicated group of people who protect these remaining sites.

Human attraction to plant colour has existed for millennia. In fact, a Neanderthal skeleton dating roughly 60,000 years old was found buried with concentrated flower remains scattered around the skull, suggesting that a wreath of flowers was placed beneath his head before he was buried. Although there are skeptics of this finding, David Lee is convinced that even the Neanderthals attributed aesthetic value to colourful plants.

More recently, studies have shown that lush landscapes can have beneficial psychological and physical affects on patients in the process of recovering from medical issues. A highly-cited 1984 study observed that post-operative patients recovered more quickly when they had a room with a view of a natural setting as opposed to a view of a brick wall. A more recent experiment, with results published in 2010, concluded that photographs and paintings of a natural landscapes consisting mainly of blues and green are more likely to have a calming effect on hospital patients compared to some types of abstract art.

Apr 30, 2012: Quercus virginiana

Quercus virginiana

The Squares of Savannah, Georgia often have a canopy of Quercus virginiana, or southern live oak. This photograph, from Chippewa Square, was one of many taken of the oaks that day. Incidentally, Chippewa Square is also the locality of the park bench scenes from Forrest Gump (I was oblivious and only learned about it later).

Like the previous Cladonia evansii, Quercus virginiana has a distribution that stretches along the coastal plain of the southeast USA. Like many oak species, it is known to hybridize; some named hybrids are listed in the Flora of North America account for the species: Quercus virginiana. The FNA account also details some of the past economic importance of the species: "...it was widely used for structural pieces in the manufacture of wooden ships, and large groves were actually considered a strategic resource by the federal government. Historically oil pressed from the acorns was utilized. Like other members of the live oak group...Quercus virginiana seedlings form swollen hypocotyls that may develop into large, starchy, underground tubers. In the past, the tubers were gathered, sliced, and fried like potatoes for human consumption".

The epithet virginiana refers specifically to Virginia, USA. The state name, in turn, "may have been suggested...by Raleigh or [Queen] Elizabeth, perhaps noting her status as the 'Virgin Queen', and may also be related to a native phrase, 'Wingandacoa', or name, 'Wingina'"). The etymology of virginiana was the subject of some discussion during our trip, so I hope that this clarifies the matter.

Mar 8, 2012: Cyclobalanopsis glaucoides

Organized once again by Katherine, here's today's entry with an introduction from her:

Continuing the series for UBC's Celebrate Research Week">UBC Celebrate Research Week is another entry thanks to Dr. Roy Turkington, this time from his research undertaken in collaboration with Professor Zhou Zhe-khun. Dr. Turkington informed me that the first image is a general view of the canopy at the Ailaoshan Reserve. The second image shows one of three treatment plots of research being conducted by M.Sc student, Jessica Lu, where they are testing the effects of litter on soil nutrients, soil invertebrates, and germination & establishment of seedlings. The final image is from Jin Jin Hu (PhD student), showing his enclosures for testing the effects of rodents (and other seed predators) on germination and establishment of seedlings. Dr. Turkington writes:

Yunnan Province in southwestern China is a biodiversity hotspot containing more than 20000 species of higher plants (6% of the world's total). The biodiversity of this region is under threat from loss of habitat due to logging and the planting of economic plants. Fifteen to twenty percent of higher plant varieties are endangered, threatening the existence of 40,000 species of organisms related with them. One-third of all species of oak (approximately 150 species, Quercus plus Cyclobalanopsis) in these Asian evergreen broad-leaved forests belong to the genus Cyclobalanopsis and one of the dominant species in this genus is Cyclobalanopsis glaucoides. As a dominant species, it provides a major structural component of these diverse forests, yet seedlings of Cyclobalanopsis glaucoides are rarely observed, and even in years of higher acorn production, the number of oak seedlings is not significantly increased. Thus, an understanding of the factors that influence the long-term survival of Cyclobalanopsis glaucoides is critical to the maintenance of these forests.

These studies began in 2006 and are on-going. Specifically, we are testing if there is a relationship between large weather cells, such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Southern Oscillation Index, with acorn production, and if acorn germination & seedling establishment is affected by weevils, small mammals, birds, or the quality and quantity of litter in the understorey of these forests.

Feb 16, 2012: Quercus agrifolia

Quercus agrifolia

Thanks to Damon Tighe@Flickr for submitting his photo of Quercus agrifolia from Oakland, California (via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool). Damon's photostream on Flickr has quite a few recent botanical images from California.

A photograph of the acorns and foliage for coast live oak or California live oak is available from a previous Botany Photo of the Day entry, Quercus agrifolia. In trying to track down the meaning of "live oak" when it is used in a common name, my conclusion so far is that all live oaks are evergreen and North American, but not all evergreen North American oaks are known as live oaks. Also, the live oaks belong to different taxonomic groupings within Quercus. Five species, in Quercus Section Quercus, or the white oaks, are native to southeast and south-central North America. Four species given the common name live oak are native to southwestern North America. Three of these species are in Quercus Section Lobatae, the red oaks, and one is in Quercus Section Protobalanus, or the intermediate or golden-cup oaks.

Calphotos has many images of this iconic Californian tree species: Quercus agrifolia. Quercus agrifolia can also be found in Baja California.


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