Oak Woodlands

The Problem

The Word "Acorn"

Oak Flowers

Leaf Galls


Natural Planting

    Annual Weeds

Life in Mature Trees
    "Spanish Moss"
     Leaping Lizards
     Diseases, Decline
     Sudden Oak Death

Key to Oak Species

     Planting Trees
     Climate Change

California Shrub Oaks

Illustrations: Michael Lee, Good Nature Publishing, Seattle, WA who publish a great oak poster!
Illustrations used with permission,but are copyrighted by Good Nature Publishing, and artist.

Click on Thumbnails below for larger picture          



Coastal Scrub Oak

Another shrub oak, restricted to rapidly disappearing habitat on bluffs, headlands and hillsides within sight of ocean. Twigs are thin, reddish. Leaves cupped and less than 1/2" long with soft, felt-like hairs underneath.


Deer Oak

A shrub oak, in Klamath Ranges of Trinity, Del Norte and Siskiyou counties. On dry slopes between 3,000 and 7,000 feet. Many stems arise from same region at base of plant, giving a "vase" shape to plant.


Desert Scrub Oak

Found in open woodlands of pinyon, juniper and Joshua trees, on mountain slopes along desert edges, 3,000 feet to 6,500 feet. Leaves <1.5" long, oblong in outline, yellowish green on both sides. Margins are toothed and spine-tipped, and apex is pointed. Acorns shaped like old-fashioned spinning top. Mature bark gray with dull cast. Shrubs < 10' tall.


Huckelberry Oak

A low, spreading shrub of the higher mountains, from 3,000 to 10,000 feet. Often in conifers. Exposed ridge, rock outcrops. Leaves about 1" long, smooth edges. Topsides are shiny gree, golden below.


Island Scrub Oak

Only found on Santa Cruz Island and a few coastal localities in Santa Barbara County. Associated with maratime chaparral, and closed-cone pine forest below 3,000 feet. Leave 2-4" long, with a few bristles or spines along the edge.


Leather Oak

Mostly on serpentine soils. Tough leaves, extensive root system, <10 ' feet tall. Below 6,000 '. Widely scattered.


Muller Oak

Another shrub oak, < 6 feet tall. Closely related to coastal scrub oak and desert scrub oak. Habitat is desert edge chaparral, 3,000 to 6,000 feet. Isolated populations in Joshua Tree NM, San Bernadino Mtns.


Oracle Oak

Hybrid cross between interior live oak and black oak. Can grow to tree up to 40 ' tall. Found in mountains, foothills. Other hybrids exist: see Pavlik et al. 1991.


Palmer Oak

Another shrub oak, less than 10 feet tall. Grows in semi-desert chaparral or pinyon-juniper woodlands, between 3,000 and 5,000 feet. Leaves are nearly round, 1/2 - 1" long; dull gray above and whitish or yellow below. Leaf edges are wavy and very spiny.