While I was in the Western suburbs recently, I went for a wander and saw what I thought at first glance were olive trees. Shame on me for not looking more closely: these were oak trees, as evidenced by the acorns.
On the other hand, looking at those leaves, this is not a variety of oak I’m accustomed to. The most common oak in my neighbourhood is the English oak (Quercus Robur), which has quite a distinctive leaf shape: nothing like this one. The next most common is the cork oak (Quercus Suber): there are a couple in a nearby park which are a constant source of wonder to me. Perhaps I am just not paying attention. I found this site listing quite a few oaks on a site from my own city–so many different oaks must be grown here. While I was in Melbourne there was a leaf I could only have said was not native on the table during the Second Skin workshop. India Flint pronounced it an oak, and that evening I saw loads of them planted down the side of a street. With acorns–which are evidently the only mental clue I have for identifying unfamiliar oaks. So I recently understood there must be members in the oak family I hadn’t met. To look at this tutorial on identifying oak leaves in North America, the leaf I saw in Melbourne was a red oak and the ones I know better are white oaks.
Just to add to the mystery, where the trees had re-sprouted after being cut back, there were juvenile leaves that were positively prickly along the leaf margins. Well–I decided to gather a few leaves and acorns and try them out. The result was not really exciting… but then I have never seen so many acorns in one place and there are dyeing applications for acorns I’ve never tried. So perhaps the future still holds possibilities!