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The oak tree in Skjomendalen © Gerhard Sørensen-Fuglem and Cecilia Piccirilli Bjerkeset
An oak grows north of the Arctic Circle in Norway
Website Editor | Aug 14, 2023
Unusual symptoms linked to phytoplasma infection in Quercus humboldtiii, Colombia © Eric Boa
Symptoms linked to phytoplasma infection found in Quercus...
Website Editor | Aug 06, 2023
Different names are being used for one species.
Website Editor | Jun 20, 2023

Plant Focus

A small but mature Alabama sandstone oak producing acorns © Patrick Thompson
A Critically Endangered dwarf oak 

Searching for the Hardy Southern Live Oak

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Anthony S.Aiello and Michael S. Dosmann

Published May 2014 in International Oaks No. 25: 23–34


It’s no secret that individual plants within a species can show variation in both morphological and physiological characteristics, winter hardiness being one of the latter. When adding accessions, we want to capture as much variation as possible within a species, so we often collect from multiple populations within a species’ range. This is standard practice for species in our core, or high-priority, collections that are already well adapted to our local arboretum conditions. However, for species that are not typically winter hardy in our climate, we must seek specific provenances that may hold hardier populations. One of those marginally hardy species that has evaded our grasp so far is the southern live oak (Quercus virginiana Mill.). In their combined 260 years of acquiring and testing species from all over the temperate world, the Arnold and Morris Arboreta have made only a handful of attempts to grow Q. virginiana. In fact, the Arnold Arboretum never even tried to cultivate the species. We feel there is potential to grow this species in our collections, or at least make the attempt. For one, our average annual minimum temperatures have risen because of climate change and urban heat island effects. This article recounts our short trip from October 20 to 24, 2012 to collect germplasm from the species’ most northerly natural populations in Virginia.


Quercus virginiana Mill., hardiness, Arnold Arboretum, Morris Arboretum


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