Quercus oglethorpensis - Duncan
Oglethorpe's Oak
Other English Common Names: Oglethorpe Oak
Other Common Names: Oglethorpe oak
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Quercus oglethorpensis Duncan (TSN 19391)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.128740
Element Code: PDFAG051M0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Beech Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Fagales Fagaceae Quercus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Quercus oglethorpensis
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 01Aug1996
Global Status Last Changed: 14Aug1996
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: 140 sites extant in 1985.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S1), Georgia (S2), Louisiana (S1), Mississippi (S2), South Carolina (S3)

Other Statuses

Comments on USESA: Q. oglethorpensis was listed by USFWS (1990) as a category 3 species before the elimination of the category 2 and 3 candidate listings in 1996 (Federal Register February 28,1996). It is now considered a federal species of concern (Norquist pers. comm.).

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Quercus oglethorpensis was discovered along Buffalo Creek in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, in 1940 by Wilber H. Duncan. This species' limited distribution and disjunct populations may indicate that it is an old species that had a wider range now represented by relic populations (Duncan 1950).

The main range of Quercus oglethorpensis is in western South Carolina and adjacent Georgia, with disjunct populations occurring in Mississippi and Louisiana (Weakley In Progress). It is known from Green, Oglethorpe, Wilkes, Elbert, and Jasper Counties, Georgia; Greenwood, Saluda, McComick, Edgefield, and Abbeville Counties, South Carolina; Caldwell Parish, Louisiana; and Scott, Smith, and Jasper Counties, Mississippi (Gordon pers. comm.).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats at each occurrence should be identified and evaluated. Ranking the stresses and sources may be helpful in developing a preserve design or in developing management plans for the site. Some possible threats to Quercus oglethorpensis are noted below.

Populations are currently threatened by habitat alteration resulting mainly from commercial and residential development, silvicultural practices, conversion to agriculture, pasture, or pine plantations. Inundation from dam construction (human and beaver) is also a potential threat.

Prior to 1940, the greatest impact on the distribution of the species is believed to have been the conversion of forested land to agricultural use. Some sites may have been lost to inundation from hydroelectric projects. Results from a study by Haehnle and Jones (1985) indicate that the "destructive impacts on Q. oglethorpensis have been minimal since its discovery." Land-use change, however, continues to be the biggest threat to the species as areas become developed for commercial or residential use, or converted to pine plantations or pasture.

Land-use change due to commercial and residential development is present in some habitat areas for Q. oglethorpensis. Although it is not presently a strong threat, pressure will increase as rural areas become more developed. Conversion is dependent on the location and proximity to towns and cities and their growth rates. Occurrences on National Forest lands (Sumter, South Carolina & Bienville, Mississippi) can be protected from destruction from construction by properly planning for the preservation of this species.

Logging in areas occupied by the species may pose a significant threat. Destruction of individual trees should be avoided. Extensive logging may negatively impact the species. Selective logging could open the canopy and encourage healthy trees, but extensive disturbance to the soils may encourage exotic species and alter the local hydrology by changing evapotranspiration. Construction of logging roads, erosion, and increased sedimentation are concerns with all logging operations. Clearcutting and clearing for utility rights-of-way would have a negative impact by reducing all woody vegetation. Field observations indicate that Q. oglethorpensis does not tolerate a high degree of disturbance, as trees did not appear to invade a highly disturbed area adjacent to them (Southeastern Wildlife Services 1979).

The effects of conversion to a monoculture is presumed to be negative as it would eliminate individual trees. If Q. oglethorpensis was kept within a pine plantation, shading may prevent healthy trees and limit reproduction.

Dam construction projects are a potential threat to some sites. Inundation related to the Clarks Hill dam on the Savannah River may have reduced the extent of this species. Additionally, the close proximity of some populations to small streams could make them subject to inundation from beaver dams.

Overutilization for commercial, scientific, or educational use does not appear to be a current threat. Presently Q. oglethorpensis does not have a lumber or horticultural market value. The tree has a poorer value as a timber product than other oak species due to cankers which occur on many of the trees. The source of these cankers is undetermined. Only sporadic collection for scientific and educational purposes occurs and whole plants should not be selected.

Lonicera japonica has been reported to overgrow and kill seedlings and juveniles (Southeastern Wildlife Services 1979). The extent of threats from other exotic species is undocumented. Manual removal of exotics may be required and herbicides are not recommended.

No specific information on insect damage to Q. oglethorpensis exists. It is assumed that insect species that attack other oaks have similar effects on this species. With limited number of Oglethorpe oaks present, defoliation caused by gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) infestations could prove devastating. A 1979 report (Southeastern Wildlife Services 1979) stated that young and older trees appeared to be quite susceptible to chestnut blight (Endothia parasitica) and that field observations indicate that it might have a major impact on the survival of seedlings and juvenile plants, and the longevity of older trees. This hypothesis needs further investigation. Other insect species and diseases that affect white oaks may be of concern.

The effects of fire are also unreported or not known. Fire is probably not a normal component of the moist habitat of the Oglethorpe oak and would likely kill seedlings and destroy acorns; even low intensity fire may damage mature trees.

Alteration to the local hydrology is a concern with this species. Draining and flooding (or altering the hydroperiod) may adversely affect Q. oglethorpensis and its associated community. Time and duration of seasonal flooding may play an important role in the biology of the plant. Dramatic increases or decreases in sedimentation can also negatively impact the species and the surrounding community. Monitoring should provide insights into the hydrologic cycle and sedimentation rates associated with this species and community. As with any bottomland species, the hydrologic parameters of the area should be considered in any management plans.

The impact of grazing on young plants and predation on acorns by native fauna is undocumented. Predation may not have serious impacts on large populations but could severely impact smaller ones. Livestock grazing is known to effectively eliminate seedlings.

Short-term Trend Comments: The recent trend in the species is unknown, although the limited distribution, small populations, and lack of protective ownership place the species in a threatened status. Faust (1980) recommended that the species be listed as threatened as opposed to endangered because some locations were not currently threatened. A number of new occurrences have been documented since the discovery of the oak in 1940, including populations in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Prior to a 1985 study, Quercus oglethorpensis was know from only 45 stations. In this study, Haehnle and Jones (1985) define a station as comprised of all individuals of the species in an area that are less than 0.16 km apart. Stations ranged in size from a single individual to over 100 per hectare. Their study noted a loss in five stations due to land-use change (two sites changed to pine plantations) and produced 100* new stations (* a number of stations were misidentified which were actually Q. sinuata var. sinuata). No indication was made on the viability or conditions of these stations.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Quercus oglethorpensis was discovered along Buffalo Creek in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, in 1940 by Wilber H. Duncan. This species' limited distribution and disjunct populations may indicate that it is an old species that had a wider range now represented by relic populations (Duncan 1950).

The main range of Quercus oglethorpensis is in western South Carolina and adjacent Georgia, with disjunct populations occurring in Mississippi and Louisiana (Weakley In Progress). It is known from Green, Oglethorpe, Wilkes, Elbert, and Jasper Counties, Georgia; Greenwood, Saluda, McComick, Edgefield, and Abbeville Counties, South Carolina; Caldwell Parish, Louisiana; and Scott, Smith, and Jasper Counties, Mississippi (Gordon pers. comm.).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, GA, LA, MS, SC

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
GA Elbert (13105), Greene (13133), Jasper (13159), Lincoln (13181), Mcduffie (13189), Oglethorpe (13221), Putnam (13237)*, Wilkes (13317)
LA Caldwell (22021), Catahoula (22025)
MS Jasper (28061), Madison (28089), Rankin (28121), Scott (28123), Smith (28129)
SC Edgefield (45037), Greenwood (45047), McCormick (45065), Newberry (45071)*, Saluda (45081), York (45091)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Lower Catawba (03050103)+, Saluda (03050109)+, Upper Savannah (03060103)+, Broad (03060104)+, Little (03060105)+, Stevens (03060107)+, Upper Oconee (03070101)+, Upper Ocmulgee (03070103)+, Upper Leaf (03170004)+, Upper Pearl (03180001)+, Middle Pearl-Strong (03180002)+
08 Lower Ouachita (08040207)+, Lower Big Black (08060202)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Quercus oglethorpensis is a medium to large deciduous tree with light gray scaly bark and yellow-green leaves covered with short-stalked, tan hairs. Fruit is a dull reddish-brown acorn.
Technical Description: Medium to large deciduous tree (to 25 meters tall), light gray scaly bark; stems, smooth or nearly so (new shoots with scattering of stalked stellate hairs), somewhat lustrous, reddish-brown; leaves, spreading on smoothish, short petioles (3-8 mm long), deciduous, long oblong, narrowly elliptic or oblanceolate (5-10 cm long), tips rounded to obtuse-angled, margins entire or rarely with a few sinuate lobes, slightly emarginated, the bases acute or cuneate, the upper surface yellow-green, somewhat lustrous, the lower surface more yellowish, sparsely to densely covered with short-stalked, stellate and tan hairs; fruit, acorn (1 cm2) nearly sessile, maturing in one year, cup 1/2 or less as long as nut, thin, turbinate, numerous narrow cup scales tightly appressed, dull reddish-brown, tomentose with short weak hairs toward the base, thinner, paler and less hairy toward narrow blunt tip, those of the margin erect, the rim of the cup not fringed; nut round or ellipsoidal, dull brown or tan, with a scattering of appressed weak hairs over shell (Kral 1983).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Quercus oglethorpensis is distinguished by the lack of bristle tips on the elliptical leaves and the small (1 cm2) ovoid acorn, with glabrous or only slightly hairy shell that matures in the first year.

Quercus oglethorpensis (Duncan) is taxonomically similar to Q. sinuata Walter var. sinuata (= Q. durandii Buckley), but with darker leaf hairs, and slightly smaller fruit (Kral 1983). Oglethorpe Oak is often misidentified as Q. sinuata var. sinuata and Q. imbricaria.

Ecology Comments: Flowering occurs in April, with acorn production running from September to October of the same year (Weakley In Progress). Quercus oglethorpensis is anemophilous, like most oaks. The age and size in which acorn production begins is undetermined.

Sumter National Forest contains a large number of size classes, with no predominant size. This indicates that the trees have been reproducing and reaching maturity with natural mortality not occurring at any particular size class (Southeastern Wildlife Services 1979).

Habitat Comments: Quercus oglethorpensis is found in poorly drained alluvial sites with other bottomland hardwoods (Kral 1983, Weakley In Progress). Faust (1980) reported that the normal dominant community in Georgia and South Carolina is an oak-hickory forest type. Canopy associations in this forest type include: Quercus alba, Q. stellata, Q. falcata, Q. nigra, Q. phellos, Q. velutina, Carya glabra, C. ovata, and Liquidambar stryaciflua. Dominants in the subcanopy include Cornus sp., Cercis occidentalis, Capinus sp., and Ilex decidua. Species associations vary with each locality.

In Mississippi, Q. oglethorpensis is reported from the upper reaches of the floodplain and in a mixed pine-hardwood forest. This community is dominated by Pinus taeda with Quercus alba, Nyssa sylvatica, Quercus stellata, and Quercus michauxii also present. Ostrya virginiana, Crataeous marshallii and Ilex decidua are prominent in the understory (Wiseman 1985).

Quercus oglethorpensis is often found along roadsides and old fence rows as these areas served as refuges for the species during the period of maximum agricultural development prior to the 1940's (Haehnle and Jones 1985). Oglethorpe oak is also found in bottomland forests and woodlands, and flatwoods near streams and rivers. It is generally absent from alluvial floodplain forests, as the soil is often sandy and well drained. Quercus oglethorpensis may be part of the subcanopy in partially shaded areas, but grows to its largest in areas which receive full sunlight (Faust 1980).

Faust (1980) reported from field observations and herbarium studies that the taxon is confined to well-drained bottomlands and flatwoods along creeks and rivers. The major well-drained soils series in South Carolina and Georgia piedmont are Cecil, Madison, and Davidson, and two specific soil associations 1) Cecil-Madison-Pacolet, and 2) Iredell-Mecklenburg. The Cecil-Madison-Pacolet association is derived from residuum of gneisses miraceous schists and granites, while the Iredell-Mecklenburg association is derived from material weathered from diorites and gabbros. In Mississippi, Oglethorpe oak is often found with calcareous clay soils (Gordon pers. comm.).

Quercus oglethorpensis grows in open, partially open, or partially shaded areas (Faust 1980). In sites where the dominant overstory has been removed or heavy grazing occurs, the taxon may be the largest species present and grows in full sunlight. In other areas the taxon may be part of the subcanopy if shady. Oglethorpe oak has been noted to stump-sprout, similarly to Castanea dentata; root-sprouting, however, has not been noted (Southeastern Wildlife Services 1979).

Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Little is known about the biology/ecology of Quercus oglethorpensis, but it is believed to be similar to other bottomland white oaks such as Q. stellata, Q. sinuata. Quercus oglethorpensis is often difficult to identify and has been confused with Q. sinuata var. sinuata and Q. imbricaria. Misidentification may have led to the loss of some occurrences.

Populations are currently threatened by habitat alteration resulting mainly from commercial and residential development, silvicultural practices, and conversion to agriculture or pasture, or conversion to pine plantations. Inundation from dam construction (human and beaver) is a potential threat.

Due to extensive land conversion, Quercus oglethorpensis is now often found along roadsides and old fence rows. Other occurrences of Q. oglethorpensis are present in woodlands adjacent to streams and other waterways.

Monitoring of populations and individuals is required to determine the current status (overall and by site) and provide a baseline for determination of population trends. Determination of a monitoring protocol will be best defined on a site-by-site basis.

Quercus oglethorpensis appears to have good restoration potential as plants are easily and successfully raised from acorns. The original community structure and composition associated with this oak, however, would be more difficult to restore or reproduce.

Until more is known about the habitat requirements and dynamics of the species, management should focus on maintaining the current canopy composition and community structure, and reducing identified stresses. Management for Q. oglethorpensis may best follow plans for other bottomland species of oaks, particularly the willow oaks and various species of ash, elm, and hickory (Kral 1983).

Restoration Potential: Very little information exists on the life history, abiotic and biotic conditions of Q. oglethorpensis, although it is thought to be similar to other white oaks. The restoration potential for this species appears to be positive if implemented with a good, diverse genetic stock.

The ability to artificially establish a population may be feasible; Quercus oglethorpensis can be transplanted and raised from acorns. One tree about 2.5 m tall was moved from a population in Oglethorpe county to the front lawn of the courthouse in Lexington, Georgia in the mid 1970's. The tree was reported by Faust to be in healthy condition in 1980. The Atlanta Botanical Garden has been successful in growing several tress from acorns. Several trees are present on the garden grounds.

Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: GOALS: Preserve design considerations should be based on the site conservation goals for the specific site. These goals may focus on the Q. oglethorpensis population, the vegetation community, or the ecosystem, and should be clear and concise with measurable results.

ECOLOGICAL INFORMATION: The best available ecological and biological information should be used in decision making. A decision on what constitutes a viable population needs to be determined on a site-by-site basis. The total number of occurrences and their relative conditions should also be considered.

Monitoring may reveal the appropriate level of the various age classes that is needed for the continual existence of the population. Age class data from A (or B) ranked occurrences of this community may be used to give an idea of the desirable distribution of individuals within those age classes. Monitoring should be used to indicate the extent of threats from exotics. Investigation into immigration/emigration of the species should be included in monitoring. For the community, selected members (often dominant) may be targeted for monitoring or management activities.

Development of a model that represents stages (life cycle), processes (succession, disturbance), and threats to Q. oglethorpensis or its associated community will help in producing a comprehensive site design. Setting a model may be useful for understanding the threats and population conditions. The combination of a model and threats set the stage for conservation strategies.

CONSERVATION ZONES: Conservation zones include all processes needed to protect a population over the long-term.

THREATS: Threats must be assessed at each occurrence (see GTHREATCOM section of this ESA). One goal of any site conservation plan is to eliminate or mitigate threats. Threats may come from any source and may be environmental (process related) or demographic. Site design considerations should include hydrologic, sedimentation, and natural and unnatural disturbance parameters.

MEASURES of SUCCESS: A method for determination of the level of success should be developed in order to determine if goals and objectives were met, to evaluate the conservation strategies used, and to determine directions for future conservation actions.

Management Requirements: Identification of the species is essential for its protection, because it can easily be overlooked due to its superficial resemblance to other oak species. Management should be the same as for other bottomland oaks (Kral 1983). Hydrologic conditions should follow a natural cycle for the particular site. Due to the scarcity of this species, efforts to preserve individuals should be included in management plans and in silvicultural activities (Kral 1983).

Selective cutting with minimal disturbance may encourage seedlings and promote growth on established individuals. Otherwise, management programs would be similar for other bottomland hardwoods with the exception of the protection of individuals from harvesting (Kral 1983).

Monitoring Requirements: Determination of the monitoring protocol will be defined by the monitoring objective on a site-by-site basis. The best method of monitoring the population is determined by 1) what information is required to adequately address the management objective for a particular site, and 2) the time and resources available for monitoring. Monitoring may be one of three levels of monitoring or a combination of any level.

Level I: Qualitative or semi-quantitative information

Abundance information: presence/absence, location making, number estimate, permanent photo-points.

In large and small populations the boundaries could be mapped. Either quadrants or the entire population could be mapped, and new plants recorded.

Level II: Quantitative measures of population/community

Number of individuals or stage class, density, percent cover, frequency, permanent or non-permanent transects.

In-depth monitoring would track seedlings and mature plants, and sources of mortality.

Level III: Quantitative age or stage class analysis: various measures of marked individuals.


Management Programs: No known specific management programs for Q. oglethorpensis exist. Until more is known about the habitat requirements and dynamics of the species, management should focus on maintaining the current canopy composition and community structure, and reducing identified stresses.
Monitoring Programs: Currently there are no established monitoring programs for Quercus oglethorpensis.
Management Research Programs: No current research on management programs exist for this species. Management is assumed to be similar to other bottomland hardwood species (Kral 1983).
Management Research Needs: Basic biological information on Quercus oglethorpensis is currently inadequate for long-term management of this species, although management plans should be similar to other bottomland hardwoods and white oaks.
Additional topics: Type Specimen: Banks of Buffalo Creek, 8 miles east of Lexington, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. Duncan 2879 GA:(isotype). Holotype=Duncan 89,011 National Arboretum.

Individuals knowledgeable of this species include:

Wilbur H. Duncan

Don Imm, River Forest Station, PO Box 710, New Ellenton, SC 29809-0710, (803) 725-8719

Thomas Patrick, Senior Botanist, Georgia Natural Heritage Program, 1314 Cherokee Orchard Road, Social Circle, GA 30279, (770) 918-6411

Albert Pittman, Botanist, South Carolina Heritage Trust, P.O. Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202, (803) 734-3883
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 01Nov1996
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Crowell, Jr., W. L., The Nature Conservancy, 101 Conner Dr. Suite 302, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Management Information Edition Date: 01Nov1996
Management Information Edition Author: CROWELL, JR., W. L., THE NATURE CONSERVANCY, 101 CONNER DR. SUITE 302, CHAPEL HILL, NC 27514
Management Information Acknowledgments: U. S. Forest Service Challenge Cost-share grants from the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests, the South Carolina Field Office of The Nature Conservancy and the Conservation Science Department at the Southeast Regional Office provided funding for the development of this ESA.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 01Nov1996
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): CROWELL, JR., W.L.

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Clark, R.C. and K. K. Boring. 1980. Unpublished report on Quercus oglethorpensis in Sumter National Forest, Edgefield, South Carolina.

  • Duncan, W.H. 1940. A new species of white oak from Georgia. Amer. Midl. Naturalist 24: 755-756.

  • Duncan, W.H. 1950. Quercus oglethorpensis - range extensions and phylogenetic relationships. Lloydia 13: 243-248.

  • Faust, W.Z. 1980. Status report on Quercus oglethorpensis. Unpublished report. USFWS.

  • Fish and Wildlife Service. 1990. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants: Review of plant taxa for listing as endangered and threatened species: Notice of review. Federal Register Part IV. February 21, 1990. 45 pp.

  • Haehnle, G. G., and S. M. Jones. 1985. Geographical distribution of Quercus oglethorpensis. Castanea 50(1):26-31. (Note: a number of stations in this study were misidentified and were actually composed of Q. sinuata var. sinuata- by W.L. Crowell, Jr., ESA Author, Nov 1996)

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kral, R. 1983e. Fagaceae: Quercus oglethorpensis Duncan [Endangered species, bottomland trees of South Carolina and Georgia]. Tech. publ. R8-TP-USDA Forest Service, Southern Region. Mar 1983. (2, pt. 1) p. 297-300.

  • Marx, P.S. and R.D. Thomas. 1975. A survey of vascular plants of Caldwell Parish, Louisiana. Proc. Louisiana Acad. Sci. 38: 75-85.

  • Southeastern Wildlife Services. 1979. Oglethorpe oak: Inventory of threatened or endangered plants on the Sumter National Forest. Unpublished report to US Forest Service, Columbia, South Carolina.

  • Weakley, A.S. 1996. Flora of the Carolinas and Virginia: working draft of 23 May 1996. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Southern Conservation Science Dept., Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Unpaginated.

  • Wiseman, J. 1985. Unpublished report to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Jackson, MS.

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