Quercus garryana Douglas ex Hook.
Oregon White Oak
Fagaceae (Beech Family)
USDA Symbol: QUGA4
An intricately branched, deciduous oak, usually 25-65 ft. high. Stout, spreading branches form a wide, round crown. Bark is white and scaly. Leathery leaves are oblong, with round lobes, and are green on top, dull beneath. Tree with dense, rounded, spreading crown of stout branches; sometimes shrubby.
The oak of greatest commercial importance in the West, this species is used for furniture, shipbuilding, construction, cabinetwork, interior finish, and fuel. It is the only native oak in Washington and British Columbia. The sweetish acorns, often common in alternate years, are relished by livestock and wildlife and were eaten by Indians. Planted for shade and ornament, it resembles the eastern White Oak (Quercus alba L.).
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Nut
Size Notes: Up to about 65 feet tall.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: CA , OR , WA
Native Distribution: S.w. B.C., s. (chiefly w. of the Cascades) to Marin Co., CA
Native Habitat: Dry, wooded slopes & prairies
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Dry, gravelly soils.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Provides food and cover to deer, small mammals, and birds.
Use Food: EDIBLE PARTS: Acorns (nuts) are edible after tannins are leached or boiled out. Gather nuts during the fall from September to October. Only gather the ripe tan-to-brown acorns, rather than the unripe green ones. remove bitterness, shell the brown, ripe acorns and remove any corky skin layers, dice the meat, and boil the chunks in water from 15 to 30 minutes until the water turns brown. Then pour off the water and repeat the process until the water clears, indicating that the tannic acid has been removed. During the last boiling, salt water can be added; then the acorns can be deep fried or mixed in a soup. Finely chopped acorn meats can be added to bread doughs and muffin batters. After the leaching process, acorn meat can be frozen. To make flour, the boiled acorn meat can be split in two and dried by slowly baking in a 200 degree oven with the door cracked to allow moisture to escape. Crush or grind and use as a thickener or a flour. Another method is to roast the fresh acorn to work well in a grinder or blender. After grinding, place the flour into a cloth bag and boil to leach out bitterness. Leached acorns, after they are roasted until brittle, can be ground and used as a marginal coffee substitute. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: Acorns (seeds of nuts) and young leaves. Low toxicity if eaten. Symptoms include stomach pain, constipation and later bloody diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination.
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.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Web ReferenceWebref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Quercus garryana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Quercus garryana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Quercus garryana
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-06-08
Research By: TWC Staff