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Photo for species Quercus_agrifolia

Quercus agrifolia is very fire resistant.  Adaptations to fire include having evergreen leaves, thick bark, and the ability to sprout post-fire from the roots, trunk, and upper crown.  Individuals can live up to 250 years. This oak species is susceptible to Sudden Oak Death disease.

Photo Credit:
© Donald Owen, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Bugwood.org

Quercus agrifolia

California live oak, coast live oak
What does this species look like?
What does this species look like?: 

This species is a large (up to 25 meters tall) evergreen tree with a dark grey short trunk and wide spreading branches. In older individuals, the trunk can be massive and gnarled. The leaves are alternate and simple. The leaf shape is elliptical to oblong with a thick and leathery texture. Leaves are 2 to 7 centimeters long and they are a shiny green above and dull with fuzz below. The edges turn down and have spiny holly like margins. The flowers are monoecious, having flowers with only male parts and flowers with only female parts on the same plant.  The yellow-green male flowers are 2 to 4 inch drooping catkins and the female flowers are small reddish green spikes that form in the leaf axils. This species is wind-pollinated.

Quercus agrifolia is found in valleys, slopes, mixed-evergreen forest, and woodlands at elevations less than 1500 meters.  In California it is found in the outer North Coast Ranges, Central Western California, and Southwestern California in addition to Baja California. This species often grows with Canyon Live Oak and the two species may be hard to distinguish. Q.  agrifolia is known to hybridize with Interior Live Oak (Q. wislizenii), Nuttall's Scrub Oak (Q. dumosa) and Shreve Oak (Q. parvula var. shrevii).

Where is this species found?
States & Provinces: 
CA
Which phenophases should I observe?
Leaves

Do you see...?

Breaking leaf buds
One or more breaking leaf buds are visible on the plant. A leaf bud is considered "breaking" once a green leaf tip is visible at the end of the bud, but before the first leaf from the bud has unfolded to expose the leaf stalk (petiole) or leaf base.

How many buds are breaking?

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;1,001 to 10,000;More than 10,000

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Young leaves
One or more young, unfolded leaves are visible on the plant. A leaf is considered "young" and "unfolded" once its entire length has emerged from a breaking bud, stem node or growing stem tip, so that the leaf stalk (petiole) or leaf base is visible at its point of attachment to the stem, but before the leaf has reached full size or turned the darker green color or tougher texture of mature leaves on the plant. Do not include fully dried or dead leaves.

How many young leaves are present?

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;1,001 to 10,000;More than 10,000

Flowers

Do you see...?

Flowers or flower buds
One or more fresh open or unopened flowers or flower buds are visible on the plant. Include flower buds or inflorescences that are swelling or expanding, but do not include those that are tightly closed and not actively growing (dormant). Also do not include wilted or dried flowers. For Quercus agrifolia, the male inflorescence is a catkin which is initially compact and stiff, but eventually unfolds to become longer and hang loosely from the branch. Female flowers are very small and petal-less, emerging from the growing stem at the point where a new leaf is attached.

How many flowers and flower buds are present? For species in which individual flowers are clustered in flower heads, spikes or catkins (inflorescences), simply estimate the number of flower heads, spikes or catkins and not the number of individual flowers.

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;1,001 to 10,000;More than 10,000

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Open flowers
One or more open, fresh flowers are visible on the plant. Flowers are considered "open" when the reproductive parts (male stamens or female pistils) are visible between or within unfolded or open flower parts (petals, floral tubes or sepals). Do not include wilted or dried flowers. For Quercus agrifolia, the male flowers will open once the initially compact catkin has unfolded and is hanging loosely. Female flowers are open when the pistils are visible, but will be very difficult to see where they are out of reach.

What percentage of all fresh flowers (buds plus unopened plus open) on the plant are open? For species in which individual flowers are clustered in flower heads, spikes or catkins (inflorescences), estimate the percentage of all individual flowers that are open.

Less than 5%;5-24%;25-49%;50-74%;75-94%;95% or more

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Pollen release
One or more flowers on the plant release visible pollen grains when gently shaken or blown into your palm or onto a dark surface.

How much pollen is released?

Little: Only a few grains are released.;Some: Many grains are released.;Lots: A layer of pollen covers your palm, or a cloud of pollen can be seen in the air when the wind blows

Fruits

Do you see...?

Fruits
One or more fruits are visible on the plant. For Quercus agrifolia, the fruit is a nut (acorn), partially covered with a "cap", that changes from green to light brown.

How many fruits are present?

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;1,001 to 10,000;More than 10,000

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Ripe fruits
One or more ripe fruits are visible on the plant. For Quercus agrifolia, a fruit is considered ripe when it has turned light brown.

What percentage of all fruits (unripe plus ripe) on the plant are ripe?

Less than 5%;5-24%;25-49%;50-74%;75-94%;95% or more

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Recent fruit or seed drop
One or more mature fruits or seeds have dropped or been removed from the plant since your last visit. Do not include obviously immature fruits that have dropped before ripening, such as in a heavy rain or wind, or empty fruits that had long ago dropped all of their seeds but remained on the plant.

How many mature fruits have dropped seeds or have completely dropped or been removed from the plant since your last visit?

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;1,001 to 10,000;More than 10,000

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