16 responses to “Quercus agrifolia”

  1. Stan Flouride

    For at least 5 years after moving to San Francisco I thought these spikey-leafed trees were a variety of holly. Originally from New Jersey I was only familiar with white and black oak varieties.
    It was only when I happened to see these with acorns that I realized what they were.

  2. bev

    I agree with Stan; my first thought was, gee, a holly with acorns! The leaves are also quite different in texture from the east coast oaks. I assume this helps with water retention. After reflection, I guess the points on the leaves are similar to those in the red oak family in the east.

  3. petra

    my favorite tree of all time.

  4. judy newton

    This was the first latin plant name I learned. I toured school children at Descanso Gardens in La Canada. The oak had tiny wasp galls on the leaves as well as history with the indigenous people. I grew up in Winnipeg and had not heard of live oaks. It is one of my favourite trees too.

  5. Eric in SF

    This is native to the Bay Area, but it’s absolutely under cultivation. Most, if not all, of Golden Gate Park was sand dunes and coastal scrub vegetation prior to its establishment as a park.
    I’ve added geolocation data showing where I took the shot.

  6. Joe

    After a year of doing population genetics with the white oak relatives in chicago, I thought I was pretty darn good a IDing oaks. When I came to LA, it took me until acorn season to believe it when people told me this was an oak.

  7. Eric in SF

    (BTW, I echo everyone else’s experience – it took me making a fool of myself telling someone that this was an Ilex only to be corrected by another.)

  8. Joseph Brenner

    Has anyone seen a HOLLY OAK(quercus ilex)? I’m still trying to convince a friend that that is an Oak, not a Holly.

  9. Margaret-Rae Davis

    My first thought today was a different shape acorn. Massachusetts has nothing like this. What wonderful lighting and selective focus. This truely is a grand photo.
    Thank you, Margaert-Rae

  10. Eric Simpson

    Those of you who grew up with large, stately oaks with nicely lobed leaves, and surprised to learn that that holly is actually an oak, should be totally dumbfounded by the various chaparrel and sage scrub species found on the west coast (e.g. Q. berberidifolia, Q. dumosa & Q. john-tuckeri). In the wild, some of these species rarely exceed 2 meters in height and have leaves the size of a fingernail.

  11. Joe

    I was just doing some research, and apparently the genus name Ilex comes from Quercus ilex, a species of Mediterranean oak (in the white oak section) that is also often confused with holly. I would have thought the oak would have been named after the hollies, but it seems like the hollies were named after the oak.

  12. Anthony

    My sister who lives in New England but has traveled extensively in the western states, thinks California is the only state that truly looks like the west. Probably because of the live oak woodlands she has seen in so many old western-themed movies and television shows.
    This, the interior live oak, and the canyon live oak, are a major part of the floristic magic of California, just as much as the huge conifers familiar to everyone. I would also include the valley oak and especially the blue oak.

  13. Beverley

    Quercus agrifolia – Z8 – RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths
    Quercus agrifolia – Z9-10 – A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Brickell, Cole, Zuk
    agrifolia ag-ri-fo-lee-a. With spiny leaves. Dictionary of Plant Names, Coombes

  14. petra

    for me it was the opposite, growing up in california i was used to these scrub oaks and the large lobed leaves of the east coast just dont look like oak trees to me 🙁

  15. Barry

    California also has probably the largest of the North American Oaks, Quercus lobata, which has the classic lobed oak leaves. They get massive, trunks up to 9 feet wide, and about 100 feet high, with a slightly less wide crown.
    Most of the mosters are gone from the Central Valley of California, but they are still pretty common in moister valleys (they require year round access to ground water). These trees used to be dominant in the riparian forests.

  16. Roulleau

    Excusez-moi d’ecrire en Français.
    Je souhaiterais acheter quelques plants de Quercus Agrifolia. Pouvez-vous m’indiquer une adresse?
    Merci Sincères salutations
    Jacques Roulleau

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