Quercus douglasii

blue oak

Habit: this deciduous tree grows slowly. Generally short and straight with a rounded crown and many bent and twisted branches. Bark is gray and furrowed in what appears to be a pattern of small squares. The blue-green leaves are waxy, thick and 1-3 in (2.5-8 cm) long with shallow rounded lobes, undersides much paler than the topside. It may retain its leaves year-round in moist sites. Flowers are inconspicuous and fruit is an elongated acorn with a prominent tip. Leaves turn a yellow orange color in the autumn.

Ecology: endemic to California, blue oak grows in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, on dry rocky slopes in woodlands and savannas usually under 3500 ft (1000 m).

Growing Conditions: full sun, doesn’t mind poor soils, very drought tolerant once established.

A very important species to Native American cultures.

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Type: Deciduous Tree
Height: 15-60 ft (5-18 m)
Width: 15-30 ft (5-10 m)
USDA Zones: 5-10
Map courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plants Database.