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Plant Focus

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

Taiwan Proud of its Oaks!

A second, but this time short, visit to Taiwan again made me aware of the richness of the island's flora. In particular it made me realise how well the oaks and other members of the Fagaceae family are present there.

Cover of the book Fagaceae of Taiwan

Another thing I learned is that the oaks in Taiwan seem to be popular, judging from the beautiful posters, scarves and a book titled Fagaceae of Taiwan (in Chinese though, but with great pictures! ISBN  9789860350913).

Having toured the northern half of the island in 2012, this time visits to the southern half made it possible for me to also see some of the warm climate oaks (including its relatives Lithocarpus) grow in their natural habitat. A very special extra was the chance to join a group of very enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers of the Taipei Botanic Garden on part of their field trip. Under the guidance of Dr. Li Ping Ju and Dr. Fuh Jiuh Pan (both IOS  

Quercus hypophaea Hayata, Fushan Botanic Garden

members and speakers at the recently-held Oak Open Days at Trompenburg Gardens) this group annually makes an excursion of a couple of days studying the native flora of Taiwan. In the daytime, hikes, in the evening, inspecting and discussing the material collected during the day. The result: some very nice pictures putting together scarf and book with the catch of the day!

A must-see also is the Fushan Botanical Garden, a branch of the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute. A section of the garden holds a very complete collection of the Fagaceae of Taiwan. A superb opportunity to study the differences, especially of those oaks belonging to the Cyclobalanopsis section! Another interesting fact about this garden is that admission is free, though advanced registration is needed because numbers of visitors per day are limited. 

Section of Fagaceae in Fushan Botanic Garden Photographing Lithocarpus corneus, Fushan Botanic Garden
Quercus tatakaensis Tomiya Lithocarpus corneus (Lour.) Rehder
Fagaceae of Taiwan on scarf Quercus pachyloma Seemen
Volunteers at Taipei Botanic Garden discussing the catch of the Day Poster of Quercus and Lithocarpus of Taiwan
Scarves with Fagaceae of Taiwan
Quercus globosa (T.P.Lin & T.S.Liu) J.C.Liao in Fagaceae of Taiwanwith acorns!