Tree Blog

Quercus x comptoniae | Sierra Foothills

Roughly a decade before the previous photo was taken, this photo was taken in the nursery from which the Visalia Compton's Oaks (Quercus x comptoniae) were purchased. There is a chance that these are, in fact, the same trees as the previous photo. Another powerful contrast, beyond timing of leaf fall, and leaf shape, between the two Compton's Oak parents, is their growth habit. Southern Live Oak is a classic round-headed oak, typically growing as wide as it is tall. Overcup Oak (Q. lyrata), on the other hand, is a strongly apical-dominant type, evolved to grow tall rapidly on the banks of streams and rivers, to get foliage above the surrounding vegetation quickly. The Visalia Compton's Oaks show strong apical dominance. In fact, it is quite hard to see any Southern Live Oak heritage in this particular hybrid form.

Dave Muffly