Advanced Search Map Locator View Settings
Add Current Plant To List Edit Current Plant
Show all Photos

My Plant Lists Nurseries Planting Guide Contact Calscape About Calscape
Tap map to see plants native to location
Order by Popularity Order by Common Name Order by Botanical Name
Show nursery cultivars Hide nursery cultivars
Show plants not in nurseries Hide plants not in nurseries
Grid view Text view
Scrub Oak
Quercus berberidifolia

About Scrub Oak (Quercus berberidifolia) The California Scrub Oak is a small evergreen or semi-evergreen shrubby oak in the white oak section. It grows up to 6 meters in height. It has variable, dull green leaves which are 1.5-3 centimeter long and 1-2 centimeter broad, leathery on their top surfaces and somewhat hairy underneath. Flowers are yellow but inconspicuous. The solitary or paired brown acorns are 1-3 centimeters long and 1-2 centimeters broad, and pointed or egg-shaped with thin caps when mature; they mature in about 6-8 months after pollination. It is a native of the scrubby hills of California. It is a common member of chaparral ecosystems; in fact, the word chaparral is derived from the Spanish word for scrub oak, chaparro. Many other scrub-type oaks can be found in the region, notably Quercus dumosa. In cooler, more exposed areas, scrub oak is usually a small, compact shrub, but in warm or sheltered areas the plant can spread out and grow several meters high. Oaks generally do not like summer water which promotes the growth of soil pathogens. The best mulch is a thick layer of oak leaves and a few large rocks.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Tree, Shrub

Max. Height
15 - 19.7 ft (4.6 - 6 m)

Max. Width
15 ft (4.6 m)



Growth Rate


Margins may be either smooth or toothed, sometimes wavy.

Flower Color
Cream, Green, Yellow, Brown

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry slopes, canyons, foothills, marine terraces, from coast to inland, mostly below 5,000 ft from Shasta County to San Diego County and into Baja California, Mexico.

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
-659' - 8808'

Annual Precip. ?
9.0" - 70.0"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.95"

Coldest Month ?
29.1° F - 55.7° F

Hottest Month ?
50.4° F - 80.7° F

Humidity ?
0.58 vpd - 29.25 vpd

Soil Description
Most often found on eroded granite or sandstone soils

Soil Texture
Loam, Loamy Sand, Sandy Clay Loam, Sandy Loam

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.0

Fast, Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 20° F

Sunset Zones ?
5, 7*, 8, 9, 10, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Toyon, Chamise, Laurel Sumac, Heartleaf Penstemon, White Pitcher Sage, Woolly Bluecurls, Tree Poppy, Ceanothus spp, Manzanita species

Wildlife Attracted
Numerous birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. Many insects are attracted to Oaks generally, including the following butterflies which use Oaks as host plant: California Sister, Propertius Duskywing, Mournful Duskywing, Golden Hairstreak, and Gold-Hunter's Hairstreak.

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Deep Organic

Propagation ?
By acorns.  For propagating by seed: Fresh seeds sow in fall outdoors or stratify to hold for spring sowing. (USDA Forest Service 1974).

Common uses
Bank Stabilization, Hedges, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Inland Scrub Oak

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

Sign in to your Calscape Account X

Once signed in, you'll be able to access any previously saved plant lists or create new ones.

Email Address

Sign In