Quercus virginiana

The Squares of Savannah, Georgia often have a canopy of Quercus virginiana, or southern live oak. This photograph, from Chippewa Square, was one of many taken of the oaks that day. Incidentally, Chippewa Square is also the locality of the park bench scenes from Forrest Gump (I was oblivious and only learned about it later).

Like the previous Cladonia evansii, Quercus virginiana has a distribution that stretches along the coastal plain of the southeast USA. Like many oak species, it is known to hybridize; some named hybrids are listed in the Flora of North America account for the species: Quercus virginiana. The FNA account also details some of the past economic importance of the species: “…it was widely used for structural pieces in the manufacture of wooden ships, and large groves were actually considered a strategic resource by the federal government. Historically oil pressed from the acorns was utilized. Like other members of the live oak group…Quercus virginiana seedlings form swollen hypocotyls that may develop into large, starchy, underground tubers. In the past, the tubers were gathered, sliced, and fried like potatoes for human consumption”.

The epithet virginiana refers specifically to Virginia, USA. The state name, in turn, “may have been suggested…by Raleigh or [Queen] Elizabeth, perhaps noting her status as the ‘Virgin Queen’, and may also be related to a native phrase, ‘Wingandacoa’, or name, ‘Wingina'”). The etymology of virginiana was the subject of some discussion during our trip, so I hope that this clarifies the matter.

Quercus virginiana

11 responses to “Quercus virginiana”

  1. Loraine

    A couple of years ago my daughter and I were there in Georgia…we so fell in love with Savanaha(spelling ?)
    , these treess were every where. As Canadians we appreciate the different foliage…Beautiful…so fell in love with the area.

  2. phillip

    ..this beautiful picture could be an abstract painting..wonderful..
    ..being in Georgia as a child…i will never forget the canopy of trees and the hanging moss…the heady fragrance of the warm south..

  3. elizabeth a airhart

    elizabeth the first must be laughing up her sleeve” he was a pest”
    you were in a lovely city i keep forgetting daniel you are
    here as a visitor from a differnt country thank you lovely tree

  4. Danée Jensen

    living in a 1912 Georgian Manor in Victoria, I dream of being surrounded by Quercus virginiana. Though we have an one hundred year old Birch in front, it’s just not the same as the twist and turns of the branches of the great Quercus genus.
    thank you for today’s Photo

  5. Irma in Sweden

    The structures of trees are very interesting and graphic. I love to take photos of trees in winter

  6. Mirdza

    The photo looks like the view from my guest room window. It feels like we live in a tree house. My beloved tree is about 100 years old and though it stands in front of our house it belongs to the city of New Orleans. After Hurricane Katrina it was under approx 3-4 feet of water and I was fearful of losing it because I had read that it does not tolerate being in water. The presence of oak trees was thought to signify areas that do not flood. I love this tree like a family member and don’t mind the pollen dust it sheds inI the spring that covers our cars and porch nor the leaves in the fall. Although it belongs to the city we pay for spraying against the Buck Moth caterpillar, fertilizing and treatment for termites which is expensive but I gladly pay it. Because of “the mess it makes” one of our neighbors would have cut his tree down! Thankfully, the city would not allow it. The blessed shade and beauty it provides is so precious.

  7. Florida Plantsman

    I fondly remember many glorious youthful hours spent swaying in the top branches of our Live Oaks in Tampa… seeking solitude and some respite from the summer heat.

  8. Vivi Leavy

    Several truckloads of Galveston live oak salvaged from Hurricane Ike were obtained by Mystic Seaport for boat restoration–making the most of that city’s tragic loss of those beautiful trees.

  9. theresa

    There’s a beautiful Quercus virginiana on Dallas Road in Victoria — it’s considered a heritage tree because of its age and its location in front of Charles Newcombe’s house, built in the early 20th c.

  10. Daniel Mosquin

    Thanks Theresa — will look for it next time I am there. Do you know roughly what block or intersecting street?

  11. theresa

    I believe it’s 138 Dallas, near the Odgen Point breakwater. I wrote a meditation about the tree and Charles Newcombe as part of a book, Mnemonic: A Book of Trees (published in 2011) but I don’t have the book at hand to check. So Dallas Road, near Port Street, a little west of Odgden Point.

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