Mt. Lemmon White Oak | Arizona
Pictured here is Daren Jenke, along with the two Enigmatic Western White Oaks. Note the ferns - this is indeed Arizona, but this is Arizona at about 8,000 feet, where aspen will grow, and, apparently, ferns. At the base of the mountains is the Saguaro National Monument. At its base, Mt. Lemmon typically receives less than 10 inches of rainfall per year, while that total is closer to 40 inches at the top. Such is the nature of the Sky Islands of Arizona, and mountains in arid zones around the world. In moments of extreme climate change, mountaintops often become refugia for species which can no longer survive on the slopes or valleys below. Humans may once have been confined, in small numbers, in such a refugia, only to emerge to become one of the dominant life forms on the planet. But that is a story for another day, though it should be noted that refugia have been important players in the evolution of life on the planet.