An exceptional crop of Garry oak, Quercus garryana, acorns


2018 September 16 Garry oak acorn, Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park, Salt Spring Island

Garry oak, Quercus garryana, is the oak species native to Western North America with the largest distribution: from a small corner of south-western British Columbia to a small corner of northwestern Baja California. On the northern margins of West Coast Quercus, in drier areas around the Salish Sea, Garry oak, and associated meadows dominated by forbs and shrubs rather than grasslands, is more often associated with a fire-dependent ‘disclimax’ the total area of which has shrunk under fire suppression. Current and historic data suggests that Garry oak on its northern margins is highly variable, from year to year, in the extent of acorn production. After progressively warmer, drier and longer summers, more similar to those in the centre of this species’ distribution, this year saw exceptional levels of acorn production, at least on the Gulf Islands. Unfortunately, the tree that has produced this particular acorn is also stressed from sea level rise and saltwater intrusion.


2018 Nov 10 Oak leaves turning in a grove of exceptionally large and old trees, that are on a rare (for the Gulf Islands) deep-soil site, above Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island PB100116 photograph by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram

Senescence, the discolouration and shedding of leaves, in the northern /  island populations of Garry oak tends to occur relatively late, in November, whereas acorns generally ripen and fall in the September.