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Editor's Picks

Ancient Oaks and Biodiveresity page 1
Aljos Farjon FLS reports on the biodiversity of High Park,...
Website Editor | Jun 28, 2024
David Oliver and the northernmost oak (to date)
Oaks found close to the 70th parallel north
DW Oliver | Jun 28, 2024
Action Oak Report 2023-24
Action Oak is a unique collaboration of charities,...
Annabel Narayanan | Jun 26, 2024

Plant Focus

Quercus peninsularis
A Red Oak (Section Lobatae) endemic to inland ranges of northern Baja California, Mexico

Jim Conrad's Oak Notes

The IOS recently received an inquiry from Jim Conrad about a strange phenomenon he observed on a twig of a Quercus ×dysophylla in the Eastern Sierra Madre in Mexico, where what appeared to be multiple styles emerged from a bud. It turns out they may be fungal reproductive bodies. But the contact gave us an opportunity to view Jim’s fascinating website, which includes several pages about Mexican oaks he has observed, as well as other oaks in Mississippi, Louisiana, Oregon, California, and Texas.

Weird growths on Q. dysophylla
Unusual slender stems emerging from the bud on a twig of Quercus ×dysophylla (top left), possibly reproductive bodies; image Jim Conrad (public domain)

Jim is a naturalist who worked in a Kentucky state park and at the Missouri Botanical Garden before starting a career as a freelance writer focusing mostly on topics relating to natural history. He traveled in about 40 countries and published over 200 magazine articles and stories, and six books. Since 1997 he has dedicated himself to advancing environmental education and cross-cultural sensitization by establishing appropriate websites, most recently the Backyard Nature website. He has been living “off the grid” in various locations in the U.S. and Mexico, and currently lives in Yucatán, Mexico. Read more of his bio in his website.

New leaves and catkins on Q. rugosa
Minuscule new red leaves and catkins on Quercus rugosa, Querétaro, Mexico; image Jim Conrad (public domain)

You can read his illustrated notes on several U.S. oaks here, and the ones on Mexican oaks here.

Quercus laxa
Leaves and catkins of an oak in San Luis Potosí that Jim identified as Quercus laxa, currently considered a synonym of Q. xylina; image Jim Conrad (public domain)