Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Share

Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or choose a plant family:

Notholithocarpus densiflorus

Notholithocarpus densiflorus (Hook. & Arn.) P.S. Manos, C.H. Cannon, & S.H. Oh

Tan Oak

Fagaceae (Beech Family)

Synonym(s): Lithocarpus densiflorus

USDA Symbol: NODE3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Tan oak is a narrow, conical (broad-crowned if open-grown) tree, growing slowly to 80 ft. in the wild. Garden specimens are rarely over 30 ft. Evergreen tree with a great central trunk and crown varying from narrow and conical to broad and rounded; sometimes a shrub. The thick, leathery, oblong, sharply toothed leaves are gray-green on the upper surface, fuzzy-white below. This is an evergreen tree.

Tan oak is placed in a separate genus, Notholithocarpus, from true oaks (genus Quercus), with more than 100 species native to southeast Asia and Indomalaysia. While the acorns resemble those of true oaks, the flowers are like those of chinkapins and chestnuts (genus Castanea). Tan oak bark was once the main commercial western source of tannin. Indians ground flour from the large acorns after removing the shells and washing the seeds in hot water to remove the bitter taste.

 

From the Image Gallery

No images of this plant

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green

Distribution

USA: CA , OR
Native Distribution: Coast Ranges from Ventura to Del Norte Cos. & s. OR
Native Habitat: Wooded slopes below 4500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Moist, sandy or gravelly soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available

Benefit

Use Food: Indians ground flour from the large acorns after removing the shells and washing the seeds in hot water to remove the bitter taste.
Use Other: Tan oak bark was once the main commercial western source of tannin.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Propagation

Description: Sow acorns in peat or sand soon after harvest and provide protection against animals. Vegetative propagative is possible but the take is usually poor.
Seed Collection: Acorns ripen in the second autum. Collect then.
Seed Treatment: No treatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA

Additional resources

USDA: Find Notholithocarpus densiflorus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Notholithocarpus densiflorus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Notholithocarpus densiflorus

Metadata

Record Modified: 2015-12-09
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back