Quercus gambelii Nutt.
Gambel oak, Rocky Mountain white oak
Fagaceae (Beech Family)
USDA Symbol: quga
A small, round-crowned tree or clump shrub, sometimes forming thickets, Gambels oak occasionally reaches 50 ft. but is usually no taller than 30 ft. Its deeply-lobed, deciduous leaves are bright green above and paler below, turning brown or sometimes red in fall. Tree with rounded crown, often in dense groves; or a thicket-forming shrub.
Gambels Oak is the common oak of the Rocky Mountains, abundant in Grand Canyon National Park. It is closely related to White Oak (Quercus alba L.) of the eastern United States. The foliage is browsed by deer and sometimes by livestock. Wild turkeys, squirrels, and other wildlife, as well as hogs and other domestic animals eat the sweetish acorns. The wood is used mainly for fenceposts and fuel. This species is named for William Gambel (1821-49), a naturalist from Philadelphia.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Size Notes: 20-30
Size Class: 12-36 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: AZ , CO , NM , NV , OK , SD , TX , UT , WY
Native Distribution: Mts. from Carbon Co., WY & CO to s. NV, s. to Trans-Pecos TX & n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry, high-elevation hills, slopes & canyons
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky soils. Acid-based, Calcareous, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay
Conditions Comments: Train as a tree by pruning off suckers when young. Very slow growing.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Attractive
Use Wildlife: Provides food and cover for deer, small mammals, and birds. Browse, Cover, Nesting site, Substrate-insectivorous birds, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)Quercus gambelii is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Colorado Hairstreak |
Learn more at BAMONA
PropagationDescription: Oaks are most often propagated from seed. No pretreatment is necessary. Plant immediately – outdoors or in deep containers to accomodate long initial taproot. Many oaks require cold temperatures to initiate shoot development. Protect outdoor beds with
Seed Collection: Best quality acorns are picked or shaken from the tree. Collect when color has changed to brown. Best if sown immediately as acorns lose viability quickly in storage. Short-term storage in moist, shaded saw dust or sand. Acorns to be sown immediately can be soaked in hot water for 15 min. to prevent weevil infestation. Stored seed should be fumigated with methyl bromide.
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Prevent complete soil dryness, May be pruned 12 mo. out of the year, Prune to maintain shape, Fertilize 3 times a year with lawn fertilizer 3:1:2 ratio
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Replacing grass with xeric plants in Nevada
March 20, 2009
I am looking to xeriscape my front yard - remove all grass! I am thinking 3-4 larger plants: bird of paradise (mesquite??), aloe, and ..?? Also, possibly a Chilean mesquite. Do you have suggestio...
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From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 766 - Dale Groom's Texas Gardening Guide (2002) Groom, D.
Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Quercus gambelii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Quercus gambelii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Quercus gambelii
MetadataRecord Modified: 2011-03-09
Research By: TWC Staff