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Plant Focus

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

Oak Savanna Medicine: A Quest by Bike in Iowa, USA

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Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller

Published May 2021 in International Oaks No. 32: 145–154


It is Saturday morning in early November in northeast Iowa. Most of the autumn leaves have fallen to the ground, there is a cold nip in the air, but the sky is clear and sunny. There has been some flooding, so riding mountain bikes on singletrack is out of the question. My husband, Joe, and I decide to load up our fat-tire bikes, drive a half-hour west, and ride on dirt and gravel rail trail near the small town of Eldora. As we ride, we happen upon one of the most enormous oak trees we have ever seen. We have to stop.


Chassé, B. 2016. Eating Acorns: What Story do the Distant, Far, and Near Past Tell Us and Why. International Oaks 27: 107-136.

Kuo, M. 2015. How might contact with nture promote human health? Promising mechanism and a possible central pathway. Front. Pyschol. 6: 1093.

Leatherberry, E.C., W.K. Moser, C. Perry, C. Woodall, E. Jepsen, S. Pennington, and A. Flickinger. 2006. Iowa’s Forests, 1992-2003 Part A. Resource Bulletin NC-266A. USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis Program, and Northern Research Station, St. Paul, MN.

Mayer, M. 2019. Eating Acorns. OAKMEAL.

Nuzzo, V.A. 1986. Extent and status of Midwest oak savanna: presettlement and 1985. Natural Areas Journal (1986): 6-36.