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Quercus lobata

Quercus lobata Née

Valley Oak

Fagaceae (Beech Family)

Synonym(s): Quercus hindsii, Quercus lobata var. argillara, Quercus lobata var. insperata, Quercus lobata var. turbinata, Quercus lobata var. walteri

USDA Symbol: qulo

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Valley Oak is a large, majestic, deciduous oak, up to 70 ft. or more, with huge, wide-spreading limbs. The massive trunk, broad crown and weeping branches make a picturesque, vase-like form. Leaves, with rounded lobes, are deep-green above, paler below. Large, handsome tree with stout, short trunk and large, widely spreading branches drooping at ends, forming broad, open crown.

Valley Oak is the largest of the western deciduous oaks and a handsome, graceful shade tree. This relative of the eastern White Oak (Quercus alba L.) is common through California's interior valleys. Acorn crops, often abundant, are consumed by many kinds of wildlife and domestic animals, especially hogs. California Indians roasted these large acorns and also ground edible portion into meal which they prepared as bread or mush.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Elliptic , Obovate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Lobed
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: Feb , Mar , Apr , May


Native Distribution: Throughout much of CA
Native Habitat: Valleys & slopes below 2000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Rich loams.
Conditions Comments: Quercus lobata grows fastest where its roots can tap groundwater. It is less drought tolerant than Q. agrifolia.


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. 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

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

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
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX
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 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1990 VOL. 7, NO.1 - Congress Eyes Larger Issue, Research Update, Director's Report, Carlton B. Lees ...

Additional resources

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


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

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