Category   Trees in British Columbia: Garry Oak
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Garry Oak (Quercus garryana)

On rocky hilltops on Vancouver Island's southern and eastern edges, small trees, gnarled and twisted, eke out a living in the dry summers there. These are Garry Oaks, British Columbia's only representative of this family. In deeper soils, the oaks grow to become stately trees, the last of which can be found among the lawns and roads of greater Victoria. There are very few places left where these older trees are growing in intact ecosystems, with younger trees coming along to replace them.

Garry Oak is one of the white oaks (in the United States, it is called Oregon White Oak). It is very slow growing, in part because it is so often found in austere habitat. In dry summers, some oaks will shed their leaves, and put on a new set if there is some late summer moisture. Its acorns are an important food for Band-tailed Pigeons. Steller's Jays also take advantage of this food source, and are now known to be important players in the dispersal of the acorns to new sites.

Garry Oaks of various sizes can be seen in Victoria's Uplands Park, and other hilltop parks on southern Vancouver Island.

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