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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - October 14, 2013

From: Mayport, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification, Trees
Title: Identification of oak trees in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I am an avid hunter in PA. I found these nuts and was wondering what kind they are. There is a red oak beside this tree, and I know what a white oak is but this tree and it's nuts look to be from a live oak tree. I looked up images on the web and it looks to be the same as the live oak. I saw on your FAQ that PA is not known for having live oaks. So now I am not sure what kind of a tree or nuts this is. The nut is long and slender (not extremely long though) and the nut was bitter. Any information would be helpful, thanks.

ANSWER:

The distribution maps for Quercus virginiana and Quercus fusiformis do indicate that Pennsylvania is not a native habitat for live oaks. This link to cookforest.com  contains  “Guide to Common Trees in Pennsylvania”. Scroll down to the section titled: Wide and flat; alternate arrangement, and you will discover six species of Oaks that make Pennsylvania home.

Black Oak Quercus velutina (Black oak)

Chestnut oak Quercus montana which is synonymous with  Quercus michauxii (Swamp chestnut oak)  and also Quercus prinus (Chestnut oak)  

Northern Red Oak Quercus rubra (Northern red oak)

Pin Oak  Quercus palustris (Pin oak)

Scarlet oak Quercus coccinea (Scarlet oak)

White Oak Quercus alba (White oak)

Hopefully you can determine the oak you have with this information.

 

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