It’s always fun to have a quest when headed into the hills. It’s okay if the search doesn’t work out. It’s like the great old line, “getting there is half the fun.” We knew where there was at least one sandpaper oak, but were delighted to find more when we poked around the limestone slopes between Paradise and Portal, Arizona. The plant is almost always a shrub and I wonder if the small tree we found was only tall because it was reaching up and out of the steep bank above an arroyo.
Around you and me in the borderlands Quercus pungens is usually associated with limestone. Near Fort Bowie National Monument, it grows right out of cracks in huge slabs of limestone. Very cool!
Good places to look for this unusual little oak? I bet the Swisshelm Mountains and Mule Mountains, the Chiricahua Mountains…the Dragoons have some serious limestone…Hmm, I’m thinking about another quest! Oh, and I’ve got to get back to the ones we found and get some acorns. Oh yeah.
The photos are mine of the winding dirt road into the hills, the sandpaper oak’s wavy pointy leaves (with forming acorns) and I thought you might like the silhouette of the water striders too. Can you see the toe pincher (toe biter, giant water bug) sitting off in the left hand corner of that photo? Cuidado!