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 Oak Identification

One of the challenges of oaks is that they can hybridize. Two species sometimes form intermediate trees. This can be confusing. Sometimes your oak tree has intermediate looks and may be hard to identify. You might want to choose a tree that is consistent. Look around the tree and look at several branches and many leaves. Select a few representative leaves

You can find a name for an oak by looking at the leaves and comparing to some well-drawn pictures.

Picture Key to Tree Oaks (big plants, taller than most people)
Picture Key to Shrubby Oaks (smaller plants, shorter than most adult people)

Hybrids often assume a brushy or shrub form. Before deciding on the name, check the map to see if the matching name you found is attributed to oaks where you found your leaves. For example, you won't find Valley Oaks in the desert! Then, compare the acorns to see if they match. And to make sure, read about the habitat and see if that matches.

We also provide a standard key, with descriptions of the leaves, bark, and life form.
       Key to Oaks of Hastings
       Key to Oaks of Monterey County
       List of Oaks at Hastings (with hybrids when named)

Best Reference:

Pavlik, B. M., P. C. Muick and M. Popper 1991. Oaks of California. Cachuma Press. Los Olivos, CA.