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Grey Oak
Quercus turbinella

About Grey Oak (Quercus turbinella) Grey Oak (Quercus turbinella) is a rare native shrub in the Fagaceae (Oak) family that grows in scattered locations throughout the Southwestern U.S. In California it is found primarily in the Desert Mountains and Mojave Desert regions at elevations from 3900-6600 feet. The climate in these areas is wet and relatively cold in winter, dry and hot in summer. The oblong leaves are yellowish-green and the bark is grey, giving the plant an overall grey appearance.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
6.6 - 10 ft (2 - 3 m)

Max. Width
10 ft (3.0 m)


Flower Color
Cream, Green

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry slopes on the eastern slopes of the Coast Ranges, Transverse Range and Peninsular Range

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
543' - 8366'

Annual Precip. ?
5.6" - 38.2"

Summer Precip. ?
0.17" - 2.82"

Coldest Month ?
36.8° F - 57.9° F

Hottest Month ?
55.9° F - 83.4° F

Humidity ?
0.83 vpd - 36.39 vpd

Sunset Zones ?
5, 7*, 8, 9*, 10, 11, 14*, 15, 16, 17, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22, 23, 24

Companion Plants
Use with other Desert edge or high Desert plants such as Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia), California Juniper (Juniperus californicus), and Pinyon Pine (Pinus monophylla).

Wildlife Attracted
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

Rarely Used

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

Organic with Rocks

Propagation ?
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, Bird Gardens, Butterfly Gardens

Nursery Availability
Rarely Available

Other Names
Common Names
Shrub Live Oak, Sonoran Scrub Oak, Turbinella 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

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