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2001 - Then-Assemblyman George Runner introduces legislation to memorialize the historic Ridge Route. Enacted Oct. 4. [story]


Take a Hike | Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

DianneErskineHellrigelThere are about 600 species of oak trees in existence, 90 of which live in the United States. Oaks can be found throughout Asia, Europe, Central America, India and Mexico. China has approximately 100 species of oak, and Mexico has 160 species. Many species of oak are threatened by extinction due to land use changes including grazing and farming.

Oaks are well adapted to the climate of California, and to fire, as well. When an oak burns to the ground, the root remains alive, and the stump will sprout. The next time you take a walk in our open spaces, take a look at the oak trees. Some will have one trunk, but many will have multiple trunks. There is one in the Whitney Canyon area of Newhall that has eight trunks. These trunks were all stump-sprouts after a fire.

Oaks have been used for making ships and furniture, for wine production, smoking foods, for cork, lumber, and in Japan, for making drums. Oak has also been used as an alternative medicine for treating cancer, although there is no scientific evidence to back this up. The oak’s acorns have been used as a food source for humans (after removing the tannins), for squirrels and other small forest animals. It is toxic, however, to most livestock species, with the exception of the domestic pig.

oak2The oak is a common symbol of strength and endurance and is therefore the national tree of many countries. It can also be found on coins, flags, and coats of arms. It is the symbol of the National Trust in the United Kingdom. The oak tree also in the mythology of the Greeks, Baltics, Celts, Norse, Slavs, and in the Bible.

There is a clonal colony of Palmer’s oak in Riverside County, which is believed to be the world’s oldest organism. It is believed to be 13,000 years old. It is called the Jurupa Oak Tree.

Other famous oak trees:

* The Emancipation Oak is designated one of the 10 Great Trees of the World by the National Geographic Society and is part of the National Historic Landmark district of Hampton University.

blackoak* The Ivenack Oak, one of the largest trees in Europe, is located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, and is approximately 800 years old.

* The Bowthorpe Oak, located in Bourne, Lincolnshire, is thought to be 1,000 years old. It was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records and was filmed for a TV documentary for its astonishing longevity.

* The Minchenden (or Chandos) Oak in Southgate, London, is said to be the largest oak tree in England (already 27 feet or 8.2 meters in girth in the 19th Century) and is perhaps 800 years old.

* The Seven Sisters Oak is the largest certified southern live oak tree. Located in Mandeville, La., it is estimated to be up to 1,500 years old with a trunk that measures 38 feet (11.6 meters).

* The Major Oak is an 800- to 1,000-year-old tree in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. According to folklore, it was used by Robin Hood for shelter.

* Friendship Oak is a 500-year-old southern live oak located in Long Beach, Miss.

* The Crouch Oak is believed to have originated in the 11th Century and is located in Addlestone, Surrey. It is an important symbol of the town, with many local businesses adopting its name. It used to mark the boundary of Windsor Great Park. Legend says Queen Elizabeth I stopped by it and had a picnic.

* The Angel Oak is a southern live oak in Angel Oak Park on John’s Island near Charleston, S.C. The Angel Oak is estimated to be in excess of 1,400 years old, stands 66.5 feet (20.3m) tall, and measures 28 feet (8.5m) in circumference.

 

Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy. If you’d like to be part of the solution, join the Community Hiking Club’s Stewardship Committee. Contact Dianne through communityhikingclub.org or at zuliebear@aol.com.

 

California Black Oak

California Black Oak

 

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3 Comments

  1. Symbol of slavery, a swing on arm.

  2. My secret tree! I can’t believe what I’m seeing.

  3. anybody know the story about that tree on Sierra Hwy, just north of Davenport road? There are always offerings there to St. Mary.

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