Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Oak Woodland

When I picture a oak woodland in my mind it is one with coast live oaks that stand closely together so that their canopies overlap. Low bushes cover the ground along with a layer of debris.

Coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) is the most abundant species of oak along the California coast, ranging from Sonoma County into Baja California. Of course, in other parts of the state different oaks will predominate; but coast live oak is the one I grew up  and continue to see almost daily.

It is well adapted to to our Mediterranean climate of hot, dry summers and cool, hopefully rainy winters. Coast live oaks are evergreen, with a tough little leaf. 

The oak woodland is one of my favorite habitats. More than coincidently, I guess, in it are found some of my favorite animals as well: Acorn Woodpecker, Western Scrub Jay, and Western Gray Squirrel to recite just three. Plants in this habit could include California Bay and Toyon.

I have read that many early settlers wrote about the mystical beauty of these trees. I certainly get an inspirational feeling when ever I get the opportunity to spend some quiet moments of reflection in a such a grove.