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The Most Southerly Oaks in the World

What a cliff hanger I left you with three weeks ago (as the lads on The Rest is History   podcast are wont to say). Not in the Americas, but someone on our planet, I wrote, oaks crossed the equator (southward) without our help.  But before I tell you where, let's start at the top. Literally.  Japanese Blue Oak ( Quercus glauca ), widespread in continental Asia; Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, February 2024 There are 100 peaks in the Himalaya range rising 7,200 metres or more above sea level, and perhaps not unexpectedly, you won’t find any oaks at those altitudes. Not even around the base camps for Mount Everest which are closer to 5,000 metres.  Drop a little further though, and oaks are some of the first trees you’ll encounter. They are mostly relatives of the holly (or holm) oaks from the Mediterranean (subgenus Cerris , section Ilex ). That group, or clade, of oaks actually evolved in the foothills of the Himalaya then moved westward to Europe. These 'Holly Oaks' cling

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