Quercus engelmanii | Santa Rosa Plateau
Walking along the Santa Rosa Plateau, assessing the Engelman Oaks in a climate that is on a long-term drying trend, ones sees a range of drought responses that’s remarkable for its lack of uniformity within what is classed as a single species. In the photo center is a very healthy Engelman Oak, seen here in the mid fall. Flanking it on either side, and from all external appearances growing in exactly the same conditions, are two other Engelman Oaks, with a slightly different growth habit, leaf shape, leaf color, and most apparently, drought adaptation. Many Engelman Oaks on the Plateau were clearly suffering, while a few select trees seemed utterly unfazed.