A Walk in Fern Bluff Park
March 23 & 24, 2001 

Page 8: Blackjack Oak (Quercus marilandica)

Archives of previous walks in the park: 12 May 2007 05 May 2007; 28 April 2007, 21 April 2007, 14 April 2007,  1 April 2007 Easter Egg Hunt; 24 March 2007,  17 March 2007; Nov. 03, 2001; April 04, 2001; March 25, 15, 10-11, 04, 2001; February 2418, 10, 2001

Archives of previous walks in the park: 12 May 2007 05 May 2007; 28 April 2007, 21 April 2007, 14 April 2007,  1 April 2007 Easter Egg Hunt; 24 March 2007,  17 March 2007; Nov. 03, 2001; April 04, 2001; March 25, 15, 10-11, 04, 2001; February 2418, 10, 2001

The leaves presented in these photos (all from the same tree), and especially the extremely long catkins in the photo at lower left, make a strong case for identifying this tree as Quercus marilandica, better known  as the Blackjack Oak. This is on the authority of Monique Reed, Herbarium Botanist for Texas A&M University. As a part-time farm boy who spent several formative years in the Ozarks climbing and cursing the scrubby Blackjacks of that region, I must now give this species a modicum of added respect. None of the Blackjacks in that area grew far beyond the sapling stage before showing some signs of disease. Their stunted growth, gnarled and unsightly limbs, and generally unkempt appearance made them s target of derision. But not this specimen in Fern Bluff Park. Its checkered black bark feels like sculpted iron. Each limb is perfect in form. It stands next to the trail looking the part of a proud and undaunted sentry- the way every oak should look.

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