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Quercus emoryi (Emory oak)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Quercus emoryi

Quercus emoryi Torr.

Emory Oak, Black Oak, Holly Oak, Apache Oak, Desert Live Oak, Western Black Oak, Roble Negro, Bellota

Fagaceae (Beech Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Emory oak is a 30-60 ft. oak with a round crown, very roughly furrowed black bark and nearly evergreen leaves. Glossy, leathery leaves, arranged in whorls, resemble holly leaves. They drop gradually in the spring with the new foliage appearing soon thereafter. Red acorns with have a yellow cap. Medium-sized evergreen tree with straight trunk, rough black bark, rounded crown, and shiny yellow-green leaves.

Emory Oak is the most characteristic tree of the oak woodland in mountains along the Mexican border. The acorns (bellotas in Spanish) are only slightly bitter and are gathered and eaten locally. They are also consumed in quantities by quail, wild turkeys, squirrels, and other wildlife. The foliage is browsed by deer and, to a lesser extent, by livestock. This species was named for its discoverer, William Hemsley Emory (1811-87), leader of two southwestern expeditions.


From the Image Gallery

10 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen , Semi-evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Dentate
Leaf Texture: Leathery
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Catkin
Fruit Type: Nut
Size Notes: Height to 70 ft., width to 75 ft.
Leaf: dark green, stiff and glossy.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Yellow catkins.


Native Distribution: Mts. of Trans-Pecos, TX to c. AZ & n.w. Mex.
Native Habitat: Dry foothills; moist canyons; 5000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2) , Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Drought Tolerance: Medium
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Grows in a variety of soils derived from varying parent rock. In the wild, often grows in sandy loam or silty-gravelly soil of igneous parentage.


Use Ornamental: Attractive
Use Wildlife: Fruit-mammals, Fruit-birds, Nesting site, Substrate-insectivorous birds, Cover, Provides food and cover for deer, javelina, quail, turkey, desert bighorn sheep, birds.
Attracts: Butterflies
Nectar Source: yes

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Oculea silkmoth
(Antheraea oculea)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

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:

Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX


Bibref 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 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
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 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2015-11-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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