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Quercus agrifolia

Common Name:
Coast live oak
Plant Type:
Evergreen tree
Family:
Fagaceae (The Oak or Beech Family)
Geographic Origin:
California
California Native?:
Yes
Plant Size:
20-60 feet high
Landscape/Garden Uses:
naturalizing
Flowering Season:
Spring
Flower Color:
Not applicable
Exposure:
Full sun
Soils:
Well-drained soil
Suggested Irrigation:
Occasional to no watering
Estimated Hardiness:
Hardy to 10 degrees F. or less
This is the familiar dark, leafy mass of the coastal hills, usually seen in large numbers where it has survived the bulldozer and the chain saw. It can take many forms, from large shrub to huge (up to 75 feet), usually widely spreading tree. The trunks are often beautifully contorted, with smooth greyish younger bark and deeply fissured older bark. The leaves are evergreen (or rather, fall as a new crop is produced). They are narrowly oval to nearly round in outline, usually turned under and sharply toothed along the margins. They are softly shiny to lacquered in appearance, deep green above and paler beneath. The acorns are mostly smaller and narrower than those of other native oaks, but make an interesting show. With early, light and careful pruning, it may be maintained at a manageable size even for smaller gardens.