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Plant Families / Quercus - Oaks


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Quercus - Oaks

Long-lived and trouble-free, Quercus (Oaks) can be deciduous or evergreen trees or shrubs noted for their lobed or toothed leaves, massive trunks and limbs and majestic silhouettes. The deciduous species often display brilliant fall color. One of the most distinguishing features of oak trees is their acorns, which are a valuable source of food for small mammals and birds. Handsome, stately and adaptable, oaks are excellent specimen trees.

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Quercus acutissima (Sawtooth Oak)

Quercus acutissima (Sawtooth Oak) is a large deciduous tree adorned with an open, broad-spreading, rounded crown. The foliage of chestnut-like, lustrous dark green leaves with bristle-toothed, slightly wavy edges, turns yellow to golden brown in the fall.

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Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak)

A beautiful California native, Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak) is a large evergreen tree adorned with a short, stout trunk and a dense, broadly rounded crown. Its crooked, spreading branches are clothed with leathery, oval, convex, holly-like, dark green leaves.

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Quercus alba (White Oak)

Regarded by many as the most noble American oak, Quercus alba (White Oak) is a large deciduous tree of pyramidal habit in youth, becoming oval-rounded to rounded with age. The leaves feature 7-9 rounded lobes. They emerge pink in spring, mature to dark green and turn a good russet-red in the fall.

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Quercus cerris (Turkey Oak)

Fast-growing, Quercus cerris (Turkey Oak) is a large, spreading deciduous tree of broad pyramidal habit. The foliage of narrow, oblong, lustrous dark green leaves, 5 in. long (12 cm), has deep, pointed lobes and turns yellow to gold in late fall. Inconspicuous yellow-green catkins appear in spring as the leaves emerge.

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Quercus chrysolepis (Canyon Live Oak)

Magnificent and long-lived (up to 300 years), Quercus chrysolepis (Canyon Live Oak) is a variable evergreen shrub or tree depending on its location. It grows as a shrub and may form dense thickets on mountain slopes and ridgetops, and it grows as a tree in sheltered, moist canyons. In open areas the crown is dense, wide-spreading, and reaches nearly to the ground. In closed stands the crown is smaller in diameter and concentrated in the top half of the tree.

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Quercus coccinea (Scarlet Oak)

Noted for its brilliant fall color, Quercus coccinea (Scarlet Oak) is a large deciduous tree of pyramidal habit in youth, becoming upright-spreading and open with age. The foliage of large, lustrous, dark green leaves, adorned with 7-9 lobes, turns brilliant red and scarlet in the fall. The magnificent fall color display may last 3-4 weeks. Inconspicuous yellow-green catkins appear in spring as the new leaves unfurl with a red hue.

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Quercus douglasii (Blue Oak)

Quercus douglasii (Blue Oak) is a medium-sized deciduous tree with a short trunk and a broad, rounded crown. The stout crooked branches are clothed with oval, shallowly lobed, bluish-green leaves, up to 4 in. long (10 cm). The foliage turns attractive pastel shades of pink, orange and yellow in the fall.

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Quercus hemisphaerica (Darlington Oak)

Adding a great presence to the landscape, Quercus hemisphaerica (Darlington Oak) is a medium to large, evergreen or tardily deciduous tree of pyramidal habit in youth, becoming more rounded with age. The leaves, up to 4 in. long (10 cm), are shiny, leathery, with smooth margins or edges. Dark green above, bright green underneath, they fall in spring when the new leaves emerge.

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Quercus ilex (Holm Oak)

Quercus ilex (Holm Oak) is a large evergreen tree adorned with a massive, rounded crown, often with a prominent umbrella form. The leathery leaves, 3 in. long (7 cm), are shiny dark green on top, covered with gray or yellow hairs beneath. Spiny-edged when young (resembling holly leaves), they become smooth-edged with age.

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Quercus imbricaria (Shingle Oak)

Quercus imbricaria (Shingle Oak) is a large deciduous tree of pyramidal habit in youth, eventually becoming rounded to broad-rounded with age. The foliage of narrow, oblong, lustrous dark green leaves is unlobed and turns yellow-brown to russet-red in the fall. Emerging tinged-red in spring, the leaves tend to persist throughout most of the winter, rustling as they are blown up into the air by a sudden gust of wind.

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Quercus laurifolia (Laurel Oak)

Quercus laurifolia (Laurel Oak) is a large, stately, semi-evergreen tree adorned with a dense, oval-rounded canopy. The trunk can reach 3-4 ft. (90-120 cm) in diameter and flares out at the base with age. Its gray bark is moderately deeply furrowed. The leathery, oval leaves, 2-4 in. long (5-10 cm), are green and glossy on top, somewhat paler and smooth underneath.

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Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak)

Majestic, Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak) is a large deciduous tree adorned with a very wide, open crown. The foliage of leathery, dark green, 5-9 lobed leaves, 12 in. long (30 cm), turns yellow to golden brown in the fall.

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Quercus myrtifolia (Myrtle Oak)

Quercus myrtifolia (Myrtle Oak) is an erect, evergreen shrub or small tree adorned with a short, straight trunk and a spreading rounded crown. The leathery, untoothed, oval to nearly rounded leaves, 2 in. long (5 cm), are shiny dark green on top, dull to yellowish green beneath. Their margins are often rolled under. The trunk and branches are covered with gray and smooth bark, becoming dark brown and furrowed with age.

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Quercus palustris (Pink Oak)

One of the easiest oaks to grow and transplant, Quercus palustris (Pink Oak) is a fast-growing, large deciduous tree adorned with a dense, pyramidal crown. Its lower branches are pendulous, the middle branches are horizontal and the upper branches are upright. This distinctive branching pattern can be admired in winter when its naked silhouette graces the landscape. The foliage of deeply cut, lustrous dark green leaves, adorned with 5-7 sharply pointed lobes, turns russet-red to bright crimson in the fall.

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Quercus phellos (Willow Oak)

A handsome and popular shade tree, Quercus phellos (Willow Oak) is a medium to large, deciduous tree with a straight trunk and an oval to rounded crown with upswept branches. It is noted for its long, fine-textured, willow-like leaves, up to 5 in. long (12 cm). Bright green in summer, the foliage turns yellow or russet in the fall.

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