The only oak tree native to British Columbia, the garry oak only grows on southeastern Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and isolated areas in the lower Fraser Valley. It was named for named for Nicholas Garry of the Hudson's Bay Company.
The majestic garry oak is a slow-growing tree that can reach 20 metres in height. It produces and sheds acorns, which were consumed by indigenous peoples of the area. In the autumn the leaves of the garry oak turn brown and fall copiously, and in memory much of my childhood Octobers were spent raking the leaf drifts deposited on our lawns by six huge specimens. In those days we burned the leaves in a big rusty barrel, something that is probably illegal today.
Concerned Vancouver Island residents have formed a Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society to try to protect the trees' natural habitat, open parkland and meadows. Besides habitat destruction at the hands of humans, the garry oak is a favourite food of the voracious gypsy moth.