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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

FAGACEAE

OAK FAMILY

John M. Tucker

Shrub or tree, monoecious, deciduous or evergreen
Leaves simple, alternate, petioled; margin entire to lobed; stipules small, generally deciduous
Staminate inflorescence: catkin or stiff spike; flowers many
Pistillate inflorescence 1–few-flowered, generally above staminate inflorescence; involucre in fruit generally cup-like or lobed and bur-like, bracts many, generally overlapping, flat or cylindric
Staminate flower: sepals generally 5–6, minute; petals 0; stamens 4–12+
Pistillate flower: calyx generally 6-lobed, minute; petals 0; ovary inferior, style branches generally 3
Fruit: acorn (nut subtended by scaly, cup-like involucre) or 1–3 nuts subtended by spiny, bur-like involucre; nut maturing in 1–2 years
Seed generally 1
Genera in family: 7 genera, ± 900 species: generally n hemisphere. Wood of Quercus critical for pre-20th century ship-building, charcoal for metallurgy; some now supply wood (Fagus, Quercus ), cork (Q. suber ), food (Castanea , chestnut).

QUERCUS

OAK

Evergreen or deciduous
Leaf: stipules small, generally early deciduous
Staminate inflorescences: catkins, 1–several, slender, on proximal part of twig
Pistillate inflorescence axillary among upper leaves, short-stalked; flower generally 1
Staminate flower: calyx 4–6-lobed, minute; stamens 4–10
Pistillate flower: calyx minute, generally 6-lobed; ovary enclosed by involucre
Fruit: acorn, maturing in 1–2 years; nut enclosed by cup-like involucre with thin or tubercled scales
Chromosomes: 2n=24 for all reports
Species in genus: ± 600 species: n hemisphere, to n South America, India
Etymology: (Latin: ancient name for oak)
Many more hybrids have been named but are not included here. Reproduction of many species declining.

Native

Q. chrysolepis Liebm.

MAUL OAK, CANYON LIVE OAK

Tree < 20 m, sometimes shrub-like, evergreen; trunk bark becoming narrowly furrowed, scaly, pale gray; twigs golden-tomentose, becoming ± glabrous
Leaf (1.5)3–6 cm, leathery; petiole 3–10 mm; blade oblong to oblong-ovate, sometimes round-ovate, tip acute to abruptly pointed, margin entire or spine-toothed, upper surface dark green, lower surface golden-puberulent, becoming glabrous, dull, grayish
Fruit maturing in 2 years; cup 17–30 mm wide, 5–10 mm deep, saucer- to bowl-shaped, scales thick, flat to slightly tubercled, golden-tomentose; nut 25–30 mm, 14–20 mm wide, ± ovoid, tip rounded to pointed, shell woolly inside
Ecology: Canyons, shaded slopes, chaparral, mixed-evergreen forest, woodland
Elevation: 200–2600 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province (except Great Central Valley), e Desert Mountains
Distribution outside California: Oregon, Arizona, Baja California
Flowering time: Apr–May
Highly variable. Hybridizes with Q. palmeri, Q. tomentella, Q. vacciniifolia. Shrubs with leaves 2–4 cm have been called var. nana (Jeps.) Jeps
Horticultural information: DRN, SUN: 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24 &IRR: 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 19, 20, 21.

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