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Plant Focus

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

Jean-Louis Hélardot: a Passion for Understanding Oaks

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Béatrice Chassé

Published May 2022 in International Oaks No. 33: 173–185

Introduction

Having acquired the property that was to become the Arboretum des Pouyouleix (France) in June 2003, Gérard and I arrived that summer in our new house, a perfect ruin inside and out. The renovation was not to begin until October, so we basically camped out in the house for three months with a makeshift bathroom, a new SMEG, and a computer.

One day, coming home, I hear Gérard yell out, “You have to come and see this.” He was sitting at the computer where he had just discovered Oaks of the World, (a part of) Jean-Louis Hélardot’s website that I’m willing to bet few of you are not already familiar with. In that moment we suddenly knew exactly what we had gotten ourselves into when we decided to build an oak collection.

This discovery also led, a few years later, in 2008, to encountering the charming individual behind the website and the wonderful oak collection he has built, the Arboretum du Passadou, in the hamlet of La Vergnotte, in the town of Mansac, near the city of Brive- la-Gaillarde (France).

What follows is a poetically licensed mix of my visit there on June 16, 2021 and 13 years of friendship, collaboration, and visits to our respective arboreta.

References

Chassé, B. 2021. In Our Garden. International Oaks 32: 155-182.

Hipp, Andrew L., Paul S. Manos, Marlene Hahn, Michael Avishai, Catherine Bodénès, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Andrew A. Crowl, Min Deng, Thomas Denk, Sorel Fitz-Gibbon, Oliver Gailing, M. Socorro González-Elizondo, Antonio González-Rodríguez, Guido W. Grimm, Xiao-Long Jiang, Antoine Kremer, Isabelle Lesur, John D. McVay, Christophe Plomion, Hernando Rodríguez-Correa, Ernst-Detlef Schulze, Marco C. Simeone, Victoria L. Sork, and Susana Valencia-Avalos. 2020. Genomic landscape of the global oak phylogeny. New Phytologist 226: 1198-1212.