This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info: guerinw@gmail.com

Friday, November 5, 2010

If it still has nice green foliage, it's probably not native

I came upon a very attractive oak last week that I briefly mistook for the native shingle oak. It had unlobed leaves and horizontal branches akin to shingle and pin oak. Oddly, the leaves were deep green, and the plant showed no indication that it was preparing for the winter weather. A clue, a clue!
        The plants that hang onto their green leaves late into the fall are typically imports from Europe and Asia -- honeysuckles, buckthorns, and, in this case, sawtooth oak, Quercus acutissima. There is a degree of melancholy that one feels after trees have flamed out and cast their leaves. Not sure if these clueless imports are any consolation. But enough of that. Sawtooth oaks are attractive trees with leaves like those of true chestnuts (unlobed with bristles along the margins), and acorns enclosed in a cup with wacky long recurved scales. A nice specimen is in the open space just east of the new North Quad. Shingle oaks are in this grove also, as well as west of North Quad along State Street.

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