Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
General: Oak Family (Fagaceae). Coast live oak, an evergreen tree 10 to 25 m tall, has a broad, dense crown and widely spreading branches. The lower limbs of ungrazed trees often recline on the ground. Mature bark is gray and shallowly furrowed. Leaves are oblong to oval, 2 to 6 cm in length, cupped, with entire to toothed margins. The upper surface is strongly convex, deep green and smooth, but the lower surface is paler, with hairy-tufted vein axils. Like all oaks, coast live oak is monoecious and wind-pollinated. Acorn cups are composed of thin, flat scales. The one-seeded nuts are 2 to 4 cm long, narrowly conical, and mature in one year. On average, trees have high acorn production once every 2 to 3 years. Flowering takes place from February to April. Fruits mature between August and October.
Distribution: Coast live oak occurs in the coast ranges from north central California southward to northern Baja California. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.