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Quercus kelloggii

Quercus kelloggii Newberry

California Black Oak

Fagaceae (Beech Family)

Synonym(s): Quercus californica

USDA Symbol: quke

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

California Black Oak is a thick-trunked, globe-shaped oak, usually 30-40 ft. in cultivation, taller in the wild. The deciduous leaves are oblong with bristle-tipped lobes; glossy-green in summer, turning yellow to orange in fall. Smooth black bark becomes ridged or checked with age. Tree with large branches and irregular, broad, rounded crown of stout, spreading branches.

This is the common oak in valleys of southwestern Oregon and in the Sierra Nevada. The large, deeply lobed leaves with bristle-tipped teeth differ from all other western oaks, but resemble those of Black Oak (Quercus velutina Lam.) of the eastern United States. Woodpeckers drill holes in the bark and bury acorns there for future use, where they are safe from squirrels which cannot extract them. Slow-growing and long-lived, it is a popular fuelwood and hardy shade tree in dry soils. Deer and livestock browse the foliage.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Catkin
Fruit Type: Nut
Size Notes: Up to about 100 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


Native Distribution: Coast Ranges & Sierra Nevada from s. CA to OR
Native Habitat: Hills & mt. slopes from 1000-8000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Well-drained soil.
Conditions Comments: Drought resistant.


Description: 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. Q. kelloggii acorns require prompt collection because of a mold that often affects fallen acorns and destroys the cotyledons. 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.

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
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 36 - Jepson eFlora (2019) The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1986 VOL. 3, NO.3 - Fall Planting Tips, Growth Provides Enthusiasm, 1985 Financial Facts, Gathering ...

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-06-08
Research By: TWC Staff

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