66. Oregon White Oak

(Quercus Garryana)

Other Common Names: Garry Oak, Oregon Oak

Family: Fagaceae

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Against Benson Hall's south-facing concrete patio, by the bicycle rack, is an Oregon White Oak. This is the only oak species native  to Washington. The example before you is somewhat inferior specimen, not the norm. It is called Garry Oak in British Columbia, after Nicholas Garry (1781-1856), Secretary and later Deputy Governor of the Hudson Bay Co.

Among oaks it has especially stout twigs bearing large, hairy buds, with deep dark green leaves, rounded in their lobes unlike Red Oak or Shumard Red Oak, and rather large acorns in shallow cups. This species grows slower and is more prone to galls and leaf scorching than many other oaks. The rugged, broad branching habit of aged trees is inspiring, but though the wood is strong, it does break, and native people knew not to camp underneath these trees. The wood is difficult to season without warping, so it has no commercial value. However it has been used experimentally in Oregon for creating casks for aging wine.

[Leaves and acorns of Oregon White Oak]

[Oregon White Oak Trunk]

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