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Plant Focus

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A guest post by Matt Candeias, host of the In Defense of Plants podcast and blog

Searching for the Hardy Southern Live Oak

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Anthony S. Aiello

Published May 2016 International Oaks No. 27: 227–232

Abstract

Of the many majestic and impressive oak species, Quercus virginiana Mill. (southern live oak) is notable for its remarkable longevity and massive, wide-spreading form. The native range of southern live oak extends from Central Texas, along the Gulf Coast and Florida Peninsula, and in a narrow coastal band northward through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and the tidewater area of Virginia. These majestic trees are rarely seen planted much further north than Hampton or Williamsburg, Virginia (USDA Hardiness Zone 8b) where average annual minimal temperature is -9.4 to -6.7 °C. The ultimate goal of this project, a collaborative effort between the Morris Arboretum (Philadelphia, PA) and the Arnold Arboretum (Boston, MA), is to determine whether plants originating from seed collected in the northernmost part of the natural range could be hardy at these two Arboreta. This paper presents results since the 2012 collecting trip and outlines the next steps.

Keywords

Quercus virginiana, cold hardiness, the Arnold Arboretum, the Morris Arboretum

References

Aiello, A.S., and M.S. Dosmann. 2014. Searching for the Hardy Southern Live Oak. International Oaks 25: 23-34

Clampitt, C.A. 1991. The upland plant communities of Seashore State Park, Virginia Beach, Virgina. Virginia Journal of Science 42: 419-436.

Flint, H.L. 1997. Landscape Plants for Eastern North America. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Mathes, M.C. 1992. The Planting of a Campus Tradition: A History of the Landscape of the College of William and Mary (revised edition). Williamsburg, Virginia: College of William and Mary.