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Leather Oak
Quercus durata

About Leather Oak (Quercus durata) Quercus durata (California Scrub Oak, Leather Oak; syn. Quercus dumosa revoluta Sarg.) is an oak endemic to California. This plant is classified as one of the shrub oaks due to its smaller size. It often used as an urban tree and medicinal plant. In the wild, Quercus durata usually grows in serpentine soils, often with manzanita in the chaparral of the Coast Ranges from Klamath to San Luis Obispo. There are outlying populations in the Sierras and the San Gabriel Mountains. CNPS considers the San Gabriel population to be a rare variety. In the garden this plant does not require serpentine soil and can tolerate garden soil as well as drought and clay-rich soils. However, it is best adapted to relatively dry, rocky, nutrient-poor soil. Most individuals remain short, under 15 feet, and have small, densely organized leaves.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Tree, Shrub

Max. Height
3 - 12 ft (0.9 - 3.7 m)

Max. Width
3 - 12 ft (0.9 - 3.7 m)



Growth Rate


1 inch, oval, dull green, curled. Edges may be either toothed or smooth.

Flower Color
Cream, Green

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Typically found as part of chaparral in rocky, foothill or mountainous areas


Elevation ?
7' - 10044'

Annual Precip. ?
8.8" - 88.5"

Summer Precip. ?
0.17" - 2.75"

Coldest Month ?
33.3° F - 54.1° F

Hottest Month ?
53.3° F - 79.9° F

Humidity ?
0.31 vpd - 26.99 vpd

Soil Description
Although often found in serpentine soil, it is tolerant of other soils as long as nutrient level is low and drainage is adequate

Soil PH
6.0 - 7.0

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to -5° F

Companion Plants
Use with other plants of the mountainous chaparral and woodlands, such as Madrone (Arbutus menziesii), Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.), Ceanothus spp., Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), Laurel Sumac (Malosma laurina), various annuals and geophytes.

Wildlife Attracted
Numerous birds and small mammals are attracted to the acorns. 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
Moderately Easy

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

Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Propagation ?
From 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

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

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