99-15 Water oak (Quercus nigra) is a southern oak species not normally found in Illinois. This example was grown from seed of the Kentucky champion tree, located north of the contiguous range of the species, and it has proven to be winter hardy here in Oak Ridge as well as being semi-evergreen. A sister seedling planted at Starhill Forest Arboretum near Petersburg resulted in a new hybrid cultivar, ‘Fire Water’, due to pollination by an adjacent scarlet oak ( Q. coccinea). However, this tree appears to have been self- pollinated and is growing true to its name ̶ we have been watching it for signs of hybrid introgression and have found nothing to indicate that pollen from any other species was involved.
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