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Interior Live Oak
Quercus wislizeni

About Interior Live Oak (Quercus wislizeni) Interior Live Oak (Quercus wislizeni) is a native tree or shrub in the Fagaceae (Beech) family. Despite the common name it grows near the coast as well as in the Coast Ranges, central valley, and Sierra foothills. It tends to grow at elevations from sea level to 5,000 feet and is a major component of foothill woodland. This is a tall, broad tree with evergreen leaves. The leaves are thick, leathery, and may have either toothed or smooth margins. The long, narrow, pointed acorns sit deep in the cap; the take two years to mature. There are two recognized Varieties: Var. frutescens is a shrub form and is more common in the southern portion of the species' range, while var. wislizeni is the tree form. Due to its ultimate size, it requires a large garden but is a very rewarding tree to grow.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Tree, Shrub

Max. Height
15 - 50 ft (4.6 - 15.2 m)

Max. Width
10 - 50 ft (3.0 - 15.2 m)

Growth Rate


2-5 cm long, generally oblong to elliptic or lanceolate in shape. Dark green, smooth, and shiny with entire or spine-toothed margins.

Flower Color
Cream, Green

Flowering Season
Spring, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Hillsides, canyons and floodplains across most of California in locations where winters are wet but not freezing and summers are hot and dry.

Sun, Part Shade

Elevation ?
7' - 11310'

Annual Precip. ?
5.0" - 91.9"

Summer Precip. ?
0.15" - 3.16"

Coldest Month ?
24.6° F - 55.2° F

Hottest Month ?
45.5° F - 84.1° F

Humidity ?
0.10 vpd - 35.01 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerant of a variety of soils

Soil Texture
Clay, Clay Loam, Loam

Soil PH
5.0 - 7.0

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 10° F

Companion Plants
This oak is compatible with a very wide ranges of native trees, shrubs, vines, perennial herbs and annuals wildflowers.

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
Very Easy

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

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 1x/month
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, 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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