Willow oak (Quercus phellos) is a large deciduous tree easily distinguished by its leaves which are very similar to certain willows (Salix). Leaves are very narrow with a short stalk, wavy along the margins (edges) and appear very willow-like. Leaves stand out stiffly all around very slender twigs. Bark of mature trunks is relatively smooth with faint ridges. Acorns are small (1/2” long) about ¼ enclosed by cup. ( inv. (690, 484, 635, 164)
The black oak (Quercus velutina) has typical oak-shaped leaves with 5- to 7-inch toothed lobes separated by U-shaped notches between the lobes. In general, the leaves are a glossy dark green on top and slightly orange-tinged beneath. Bark of mature trees is characteristically dark, grayish and broken horizontally into irregular rectangular blocks. The bark contains a unique yellow pigment which was previously used as a dye for cloth. Acorns have a large cap that covers over half of the seed. The black oak is native to North America. (inv. 207 285 311 351 366)
Red oak (Quercus rubra) is a medium to large tree with a round symmetrical crown. Leaves are alternate, tapered, pointed, usually with shallow lobes, and bright red in fall. The leaf stalk is often red. Twigs and buds are reddish. Young bark is smooth and dark grayish. With age, mature bark forms long, board, smooth ridges and shallow fissures. Acorns have shallow, tightly scaled cups. Like all oaks many leaves are retained during the winter. Quercus is the Latin name for “oak”. (inv. 506 18 29 56 73 179 306 338 396 415 422 449 460 474 516 694)
The spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula), a native to China, India, and Vietnam, has been discovered in NJ. This easily recognizable bug is a major threat to fruit and hardwood trees including willows, maples, poplars, tulip poplars, birch and ash. It feeds on leaves and bark. Mercer County is currently under quarantine and Department of Agriculture officials are asking residents to email pictures of spotted lanternflies to SLFfirstname.lastname@example.org or call the New Jersey Spotted Lanternfly Hotline at 1-833-223-2840.
As part of a large conservation project in 1955 mentioned in the Princeton Herald (January 11, 1956), the girl scouts planted 1000 daffodils and another 1000 bulbs including wood hyacinths, chionadoxa, and crocuses. The daffodils and crocuses are still blooming in the park every year.
The Princeton Library has a new initiative for families and children to explore the great outdoors. Families can now check out a backpack loaded with information about parks and open spaces around Princeton. The backpack also includes a compass, binoculars, magnifying glass, New Jersey pocket field guides, nature log and more. The Marquand Park Foundation has included a guide with the location of some of its signature trees and a bookmark featuring the Little Free Library. The backpacks are available for check out at the Youth Services information desk.
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