Garry oak

Quercus garryana
Garry oak Garry oak

An attractive tree with thick, grooved, scaly, greyish-black bark and a round spreading crown; grows up to 20 metres tall.

Garry oak leaves

Deeply lobed leaves are bright green and glossy above and paler with red to yellow hairs underneath. The leaves turn brown in the fall. Leaves often have bumps caused by gall wasps.

Acorns are small in size with a shallow scaly cup on one end.

Garry oak acorn
Garry oak bark Bark
Greyish-black bark with thick grooves and scales.

Where to find Garry oak
It grows in southeastern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, with some isolated groups of trees in the lower Fraser Valley.

Garry oak forms open parkland and meadows that are scattered with Douglas-fir and a lush spring display of herbs - camas, Easter lilies, western buttercups, and shootingstars. These meadows are threatened by urban development.

A diverse bird community makes its home in Garry oak meadows, as well as numerous mammals and insects. Garter snakes and alligator lizards can be seen basking on sun-warmed rocks.

Where to find Garry oak
Before the last ice age, Garry oaks were part of an extensive hardwood forest in British Columbia. Their range was wider during a warm, dry period after glaciation, but it has diminished in the current wet and cool climate.

Garry oak wood was used by coastal peoples for combs and digging sticks as well as for fuel. They also ate the acorns either roasted or steamed. They managed the Garry oak ecosystem by underburning in order to cultivate a supply of camas bulbs. Camas was an important food source for many Coastal groups.

Oaks were considered sacred to the god of thunder and carrying an acorn preserved a youthful appearance.

Garry oak was named by botanist and explorer David Douglas for Nicholas Garry of the Hudson's Bay Company, who helped him during his travels. In Oregon, where it is quite common, this species is called Oregon white oak. Quercus is the Latin name for "oak."

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