Architect, Landscape Architect, Urban Designer, Land Use Planner, Environmental Observer

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Meet My New Best Friend - Quercus lobata

I am a co-owner of 12 acres in the Sierra foothills (along the eastern edge of the San Joaquin Valley), about 35 miles northeast of Fresno. The property has a dry creek along one edge. This is the perfect habitat for the giant of the Oak family -

Valley Oak

There are somewhere between 300 - 500 species of Oaks worldwide. Of the nine "tree" Oaks that are native to California (as opposed to "shrub" Oaks), the largest is the Valley Oak. This tree is not only native (grows within the state) to California, it is endemic to California (only grows within the state). According to Jepson ("Manual of the Flowering Plants of California"), there are about 3,700 native flowering plants. Of these about 1,400 are endemic. Basically that means that 40% of the flowering plants that grow in California do not grow anywhere else in the world!! The map below shows the limits of Valley Oaks....

Valley Oaks are predominantly in the Foothill Woodland plant community (see the native plant posting on this blog). Other common species include: Blue Oak, California Buckeye, Western Redbud and Digger Pine. Quercus lobata like the rich loam and moist soils on arroyos and upper riparian areas. It is found between 500 - 3,000 ft. elevation.

Valley Oaks are the largest Oak tree in North America and can be 8 to 12 ft. in diameter (which would make them 500 -600) years old. The ones on my property are 4 to 6 feet in diameter.

To know more about the Oaks of California, I suggest you look into the California Oak Foundation.

(by the way, I would be classified as a
non-native invasive European species

if I were a plant !!)

. . .

1 comment:

  1. This is truly a beautiful tree. You are lucky to have such a fine proud specimen watching over you.



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