A twin oak in Arkansas

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Jess Riddle
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A twin oak in Arkansas

Post by Jess Riddle » Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:43 pm

Nts,

I recently ran across this oak, and I’m trying to figure out if it’s a hybrid, or if I’m just over-thinking a species I have limited experience with. The twin tree is growing in the floodplain of a small stream in the gulf coastal plain of southeastern Arkansas. It resembles shumard oak, which are common in the area, but the leaves are rather shallowly lobed, the lobes more squared off than expanded at the ends, the leaf base more wedge shaped than truncated, and the streaks on the bark are less pronounced than shumard oaks in the area. The leaf blades are often only around 3” long, but some are a good bit larger. The largest acorn in the photograph is one inch long without the stalk. Other red oak species in the area are, well, just about every red oak you can think of. There are water oak, willow oak, southern red oak, cherrybark oak, black oak, northern red oak, and a little blackjack oak at the site.
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Jess

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George Fieo
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Re: A twin oak in Arkansas

Post by George Fieo » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:52 pm

Jess,

Definitely looks like red oak species and appears to be two individual trees. Perhaps the stress from the two fusing is affecting the bark/leaves in some way and may be a species common to the area.

George

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DougBidlack
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Re: A twin oak in Arkansas

Post by DougBidlack » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:43 am

Jess,

if it is a hybrid it seems like you should be able to at least rule out northern red oak due to the large acorns of that species. Some of the leaves remind me of southern red oak or cherrybark oak and the small size of the acorns and bark might fit better too. But I wonder what hybrids with water, willow, black or blackjack oak might look like. Sorry I can't be of more help. Making things worse for me is that the leaves of shumard oak that Miller and Lamb photographed in their book "Oaks of North America" don't look like the leaves of shumard oak that I am more familiar with but instead are more shallowly lobed and look a little more like yours. Still, if most of the shumard oaks in the forest you were in look one way and these look another plus the small acorns and weird bark; it sure seems like it could/should be a hybrid.

Doug

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Rand
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Re: A twin oak in Arkansas

Post by Rand » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:26 pm

I don't know what to make of it either, so I'll just ramble for a bit. Red oak acorns are know to be fairly variable. Here's a picture from my dad's old harlow field guide:
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Though the bark does look a little more finely divided than regular red oak, and the acorns do look consistent with shumard oak. Perhaps shumard salted with a bit of black or cherrybark oak?

Red oak doubles like this aren't uncommon in the flats of NW Ohio, and I never noticed any particular tendency for unusual bark. I always assumed the doubles occurred when two acorns came off the tree together on the same stem.

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Larry Tucei
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Re: A twin oak in Arkansas

Post by Larry Tucei » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:00 am

Jess- I'm with Doug Southern Red Oak or Cherry Bark. I run into this problem all the time the Red Oaks can sometimes be hard to distinguish. Larry

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Jess Riddle
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Re: A twin oak in Arkansas

Post by Jess Riddle » Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:46 pm

Guys,

Thanks for all the feedback. I didn't mean to imply that I thought the twin stem was responsible for any of the unusual traits. I just didn't want to title the post “hybrid oak #674”. The guides I have put the acorns size more in the range of northern red oak than southern red oak or cherrybark, though towards the lower end of the range. I discounted southern red, cherrybark, and blackjack, because the leaves were hairless or nearly so. I could see them accounting for the lobe shape though, particularly cherrybark. I wondered about water and willow oak two since it seems like they could account for the small leaf size and tight, little streaked bark. I a hybrid with them could produce leaves with such regular lobes though. I don’t see much to rule out black oak, but a can’t point to any trait that specifically suggests the species either.

I guess I’ll just have to wait until I get my portable DNA kit.

Jess

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