Post Oak Tree

Views: 18145 | Last Update: 2009-05-02
Post Oak Tree - Provided by eHow
The Post oak tree thrives in a dry, sandy habitat and is differentiated from other oaks because of the under surface of its leaves. Discover the post oak tree with tips from an ecologist in this free video on Texas trees. View Video Transcript

About this Author

Kerry Russel

Video Transcript

My name is Kerry Russel. I have a Masters degree in landscape ecology. One thing that I encourage people to do when they are trying to identify plant species, is to think about the habitat that they find themselves in. Habitat, meaning the type of soil, the type of climate. But by climate, people usually think of kind of the larger general type of weather patterns, but you could also have small microsites as well. And in addition to thinking about climate and soil, to also think about the influence that water or hydrology is having within the ecosystem. And this is a post oak, so the reason is why I mention that, is whenever I see post oak, I know, that if I kick a little bit, I'm going to find very sandy soil and that it's going to be quite a bit drier. These prefer or thrive on drier sandy sites. As we continue to go down the trail, we're going to go downhill, in which case we're going to continue to find ourselves more and more under the influence of the creek that's at the bottom, and we'll be less and less inclined to see a tree like this, the post oak. So knowing what habitat you're in helps you to learn the species, and learning the species can help you learn a little bit more about the type of habitat or ecosystem you're in. So, meet the post oak. The post oak's scientific name is quercus, which is the genus for all of the oaks, quercus stellata. It gets the name stellata because on the undersurface of the leaf, if you look at this with a hand lens, you'll find that the hairs, the pubescence that's on the undersurface, isn't uniform across the whole thing. They're in little bunches, little gatherings, that kind of grow in little star-like clusters. Stellata being Latin for stars. You'll notice the shape of it also is a little bit like a cross or a person, perhaps. Usually there are three predominant lobes, is what we call these on a leaf. Earlier we were looking at the yaupan and the pine needle, those didn't have lobes at all, but these have lobes like appendages. And the post oak is in the white oak group, and when I say white oak, that refers to a group of species, and the white oak usually has soft bark that you could very easily pick off with a fingernail, and the other characteristic about it is that the lobes on the leaf of the white oaks, this is a post oak, but the lobes on the leaf of the white oak group usually don't have pointed tips. They have soft rounded tips, like these. Post oak, quercus stellata, prefers to grow on sandy dry sites, and if you look up at it, it kind of is the epitome of the kind of the scary, you know, witch's tree from something like Hansel and Gretel.