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Plant Focus

Quercus macdougallii
A rare oak endemic to the Sierra Juárez in Oaxaca

Diversity Within Oaks

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Kiran Bargali, Beena Joshi, S.S. Bargali and S.P. Singh

Published May 2014 in International Oaks No. 25: 57–70

Abstract

In this paper an overview of the range of variations that occur in the genus Quercus (oaks) of the family Fagaceae is given. Oaks are one of the most important groups of flowering plants and dominate large regions of the Northern Hemisphere. We considered oaks from all regions of the world, while focusing on Himalayan oaks. These have not been studied as much by Western workers or by Indian botanists and foresters. With more than 600 species, Quercus is possibly the greatest natural ecosystem-forming genus of the world. Oaks are known for their great variety of growth forms, leaf shape and size, and for their nutrient-rich acorns. Many other trees might exceed the commercial value of oaks, but with regard to biodiversity, they have few parallels in the living world. Outside tropical rainforests, oaks are the greatest biodiversity-centric plants on the planet.

Keywords

acorns, biodiversity, Himalayan oaks, Quercus, leaf morphology, oak ecology

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