What use are Furrows ?

!!quercus-virginiana-bark
Though I am not fond of the furrows on my forehead, I love the furrows on the bark of mature live oaks (Quercus virginiana). Epiphytes — plants that live non-parasitically on oner plants and things — do not usually grow on relatively smooth bark of short-lived (40 – 60 years in a landscape setting, according to the University of Florida) laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), pictured below at the Toni Robinson Waterfront Trail in a picture taken a walk that <em>Nancy Soucy (Class of 2010) led for our volunteer group on 3-8-2014.

!!Quercus laurifolia copy

The presence of epiphytes and the texture of the bark itself help to different the long-lived, thick-limbed live oak from its short-lived, round-shaped relative. The fissures in the bark of live oaks ‘collect’ the spores of epiphytic ferns like resurrection fern (Pleopelitis polypodioides) …

!!pleopelits-polypodioides-on-bark---vertical

During dry times, resurrection fern appears to be dead, but, in response to moisture, its fronds unfurl or ‘resurrect’ …

!!polypody-(3)

So, if you are an oak, furrows make you prettier …

!quercus-virginiana-bark2

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