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Editor's Picks

Michael Eason hiking in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to observe Washingtonia filifera in situ
Currently at San Antonio Botanic Garden, Michael's work has...
Amy Byrne | Feb 15, 2023
An exhibition that beautifully depicts and locates oaks
Roderick Cameron | Feb 09, 2023
Burke Oak Collection at New York Botanical Garden
The Coleman and Susan Burke Oak Collection at The New York...
Todd Forrest | Feb 08, 2023

Plant Focus

Quercus xjackiana acorns
The hybrid of Q. alba and Q. bicolor

Cork Wars, Wine Corks, and Kiwi Quercus News

Three oak-related news items have been brought to my attention lately.

1. David Taylor shared the news that his book, Cork Wars: Intrigue and Industry in World War II, was published December 9. David gave a presentation on the subject of this book at the UC Davis Conference:

When a 1940 factory fire in Baltimore triggers a sabotage investigation, the international cork industry gets pulled into war. Cork Wars is a nonfiction book about World War II that shows how people, forests, and forest products can get caught up in national security concerns. The story unfolds across an international landscape from Quercus suber forests around the Mediterranean to the United States, with espionage, corporate intrigue, and real-life drama. 

Check out more details at www.davidataylor.org and on the Amazon page: bit.ly/CorkWarsA

2. Staying on the Quercus suber theme, Diana Gardner sent me an article published in Defenders - The Voice of Defenders of Wildlife, that explained how important it is that we favor the use of cork as wine stoppers over aluminum screw top caps and plastic stoppers. The trend of replacing natural cork bottle stoppers with synthetic ones is threatening Mediterranean cork forests: "If demand for natural, sustainable cork drops because of increased use of plastic or aluminum stoppers, these biologically diverse woodlands could be replaced with mono crops—like hardwoods for lumber—or cleared to make way for cattle farms or shopping malls." So if you are buying wine and champagne over the coming holiday season, make sure there's a cork in it! Read the article here

3. David Cranwell, who founded the Himalayan Oak Trust featured in an earlier article here, wrote to share the exciting news that seedlings of his Quercus leucotrichophora have been successfully inoculated with three truffle species : Tuber melanosporum (black truffle), T. aestivum (summer truffle), and T. borchii (white spring truffle). A few trees are available for sale at Southern Woods Nursery in Christchurch, New Zealand, and they are planning to grow/inoculate more in the future. David suspects this is the first time that Himalayan evergreen oak has been inoculated with European truffles. Anyone care to challenge that?