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Quercus kelloggii

About Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii) California Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii), also known as simply Black Oak, or Kellogg Oak, is an oak in the red oak section (Quercus sect. Lobatae), native to western North America. It is a close relative of the Black Oak (Quercus velutina) found in eastern and central North America. California Black Oak is a deciduous tree, typically growing from 9-25 meter (30-80 feet) in height and from 0.3-1.4 meter (1-4.5 feet) in diameter. Large trees may exceed 36 meter (120 feet) in height and 1.6 meter (5 feet) diameter. The species also grows in scrub form on poor sites. In open areas the crown is broad and rounded, with lower branches nearly touching the ground or forming a browse line. In closed stands, the crown is narrow and slender in young trees and irregularly broad in old trees. Trunks are usually free of branches for 6-12 meter (20-40 feet) in closed stands. Trunks are often forked, and usually decayed and hollow in older trees. The bark is thin and smooth in young trees, becoming moderately thick, deeply fissured, and platy with age. The bark of older trees is dark, giving rise to the common name. This oak grows from one to several vertical roots which penetrate to bedrock, with large, laterally spreading roots extending off from vertical ones. It also has a number of surface roots. Acorns are relatively large in this species, from 2.5-3 centimeter (1-1.2 inches) long and 1.5-1.8 centimeter (0.6-0.7 inches) wide and take two years to mature. They were considered the best acorns for food by the Native Americans. The deeply lobed leaves are typically 10-20 centimeters (4-8 inches) long. California black oak can live up to 500 years of age.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
20 - 120 ft (6.1 - 36.6 m)

Max. Width
35 ft (10.7 m)

Upright, Rounded, Upright Columnar


Growth Rate
Moderate, Slow

Winter Deciduous

Flower Color
Yellow, Cream, Green

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Slopes and valleys between 2,000 and 8,000 ft. in the Coast Ranges, Transverse Range, Peninsular Range, and lower elevations of the Sierras, where it is found as part of deciduous oak woodland, mixed evergreen forest, or other woodland/forest type

Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade

Elevation ?
5' - 14090'

Annual Precip. ?
5.6" - 151.3"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 5.78"

Coldest Month ?
10.8° F - 54.1° F

Hottest Month ?
34.1° F - 79.3° F

Humidity ?
0.10 vpd - 29.60 vpd

Soil Description
Occurs in many soil types. Prefers acidic soil.

Soil PH
5.0 - 8.0

Soil Toxicity Tolerance
Tolerates Serpentine Soil


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 0° F

Sunset Zones ?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6*, 7*, 8, 9, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17, 18*, 19, 20, 21

Wildlife Attracted
Numerous types of wildlife are attracted to oaks. 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 ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Organic with Rocks

Sterilize any cutting tools before and after pruning to prevent infections and avoid spreading Sudden Oak Death

Pest Control
Vulnerable to Sudden Oak Death

Propagation ?
By acorns.  For propagating by seed: Fresh seeds sow in fall outdoors or stratify to hold for spring sowing. If started indoors or in glasshouse, stratify first for 1-2 mos. (USDA Forest Service 1974).

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

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
California Black Oak, Cream Bush

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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