Quercus chrysolepis

canyon live oak

Habit: a large evergreen with a rounded, dense crown and spreading horizontal branches. In dry, open habitats it occurs as a small evergreen shrub. Mature bark is gray, rough and scaly. Shiny dark green leaves are oval to oblong, leathery and margins vary from smooth to spiny toothed. When young the lower surface of the leaf is covered in yellow hairs. Twigs are golden with dense hairs. Inconspicuous yellow green flowers bloom from March to May, producing an acorn that matures between August and October. On average, trees have high acorn production once every 2 to 3 years.

Ecology: found on shady slopes, canyons, chaparral woodlands, and mixed evergreen and coniferous forests at elevations from 650-8900 ft (200-2700 m). Canyon live oak grows as a shrub and may form dense thickets on mountain slopes and ridge tops.

Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade in well drained moist to dry soil, drought tolerant once established. May not be tolerant of extreme cold.

Used in controlling erosion on steep slopes. Provides evergreen cover, nesting site and the acorns of Quercus chrysolepis are an important food source to birds, rodents and deer.

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Type: Evergreen Tree
Height: 16-65 ft (5-20 m)
Width: 16-30 (5-10 m)
USDA Zones: 5-10
Map courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plants Database.