coast live oak Fagaceae Quercus
agrifolia Née symbol: QUAG
Leaf: Alternate, evergreen, simple, elliptical to oblong, 1 to 2 1/2 inches long, thick and leathery, convex with edges turning down, spiny margins (holly-like), shiny green above, duller with fuzz in vein axils below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; males in long (2 to 4 inches) narrow drooping catkins, yellow-green; females inconspicuous reddish green spike in leaf axils.
Fruit: An elongated, narrow, light brown acorn, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, pointy ends, often distinctly cone-shaped; scaly, gray-brown cap covers 1/4 to 1/3 of acorn, matures in one year in early fall.
Twig: Slender to moderate, initially quite fuzzy but later often completely smooth and gray-brown; end buds clustered, reddish brown, broadest at the base with a rounded tip.
Bark: Smooth, gray-brown when young, with age becomes darker with broad, lighter gray ridges.
Form: An evergreen, large (up to 100 feet tall) tree with a short trunk and numerous large, crooked, spreading branches. Crown spread often exceeds its height.
Looks like: interior live oak - Engelmann oak - scrub oak - canyon live oak
Additional Range Information: Quercus agrifolia is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting coast live oak.
External Links: USDAFS Additional Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson