Flora of Scotts Creek Watershed
Quercus agrifolia - Coast Live Oak
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Family Name: Fagaceae
Common Names: Coast Live Oak, California Live Oak, Encina, Encino
Origin: Native to California
Habitat: Woodlands, mixed evergreen forests, valleys, and chaparrals, prevalent on coastal side of Coast Ranges. Grows on deep well drained soils, lower slopes, riparian areas. Below 5000 ft.
Life Form and Duration: Perennial Tree, 10-25 m tall, diameter 0.3-1 m
Comments on overall growth: Trunks generally short with spreading branches dividing a few feet above the ground, 0.6-1.2 m diameter. Crowns dense, broad up to 45 m across, rounded, with foliage generally reaching the ground. Limbs may rest on ground.
Bark and Stem Description: 5.0-7.5 cm thick. On older trees with broad ridges and furrows, checkered, dark gray.
Foliage Type: Evergreen
Foliage Description: Leaves simple and alternate. Leaf blades are oval, leathery, tip rounded to spine-toothed, margin weakly spine toothed and occasionally rolled under, upper surfaces are dark green, lower surfaces are a pale green and may have tufts of hair where lateral veins join in with the mid vein, blade strongly cupped downward around underside.
Infloresence Description: Monoecious. Staminate inflorescence: catkins, slender, at base end of twig. Pistillate Inflorescence: in axils of upper leaves, generally solitary.
Fruit Type: Acorn
Fruit Description: Matures in 1 year. Nut 2.5-3.5 cm long, slender, ovoid, pointed tip, brownish; cup covers ~ 25% of nut, 1 cm in diameter.
Plant Use: "Important habitat for wildlife, its acorns feed numerous animals. Native Americans used to use the acorns for food."
Common Associates: Quercus lobata, Arbutus menziesii, Umbellularia californica, Aesculus californica
Other Comments: "Hybridizes with Quercus kelloggii, Q. parvula, and Q. wislizenii."