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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Quercus agrifolia Née
California live oak, Coast live oak, Encina
USDA Symbol: quag
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
A picturesque, broad-canopied, evergreen oak, 20-50 ft. high and wide. Old trees can reach 100 ft. Thick, slightly glossy, gray-green leaves are oval and holly-like.Evergreen tree with short, stout trunk; many large, crooked, spreading branches; and broad, rounded crown; sometimes shrubby. This is the common oak of the California coast and foothills, forming parklike groves that often appear in the scenery of motion pictures made in Hollywood.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Retention: Evergreen Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Elliptic Leaf Venation: Pinnate Leaf Texture:
Leathery Breeding System:
, Monoecious Inflorescence: Catkin
, Spike Size Notes:
Height to 100 feet. Leaf:
Male catkins 2-4 inches long.
Light brown acorn. 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color:
Red , Yellow , Green Bloom Time:
Mar , Apr , May Bloom Notes:
Males yellow-green catkin,
females reddish green spike.
DistributionUSA: CA Native Distribution: CA
Coast Ranges from Sonoma Co., s. to Mex. Native Habitat:
Coastal valleys & slopes below 3500 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Well-drained soil.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Hedge.
Use Wildlife: Attracts Oak Titmouse, Western Scrub Jay, Stellers Jay, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and about 30 other species of birds.
Use Food: The acorns were among those preferred by Indians; after removing the shells, they ground the seeds into meal, which was washed to remove the bitter taste, and boiled into mush or baked in ashes as bread.
Use Other: Long-lived.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: California sister butterfly.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2009-02-20
Research By: TWC Staff