Quercus turbinella

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Quercus turbinella
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fagales
Family: Fagaceae
Genus: Quercus
Subgenus: Quercus subg. Quercus
Section: Quercus sect. Quercus
Q. turbinella
Binomial name
Quercus turbinella
Natural range
  • Quercus dumosa subsp. turbinella (Greene) A.E.Murray
  • Quercus dumosa var. turbinella (Greene) Jeps.
  • Quercus subturbinella Trel.
Quercus turbinella

Quercus turbinella is a North American species of oak known by the common names shrub oak, turbinella oak, shrub live oak, and gray oak.[3][4][5] It is native to Arizona, California, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada in the western United States.[3] It also occurs in northern Mexico.[6]

Arizona shrub oak acorns. Quercus turbinella.


Quercus turbinella is a shrub growing 2–5 metres (6+1216+12 feet) in height but sometimes becoming treelike and exceeding 6 m (20 ft). The branches are gray or brown, the twigs often coated in short woolly fibers when young and becoming scaly with age. The thick, leathery evergreen leaves are up to 3 centimetres (1+14 inches) long by 2 cm (34 in) wide and are edged with large, spine-tipped teeth. They are gray-green to yellowish in color and waxy in texture on the upper surfaces, and yellowish and hairy or woolly and glandular on the lower surfaces. The males catkins are yellowish-green and the female flowers are in short spikes in the leaf axils, appearing at the same time as the new growth of leaves. The fruit is a yellowish brown acorn up to two centimeters long with a shallow warty cup about a centimeter wide.[6] This oak reproduces sexually via its acorns if there is enough moisture present, but more often it reproduces vegetatively by sprouting from its rhizome and root crown.[5][3]


Quercus turbinella has been found in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, southern California, and western Texas, as well as Baja California.[7][4] In California, it occurs in the New York mountains and a few eastern California desert ranges. The populations on the desert mountains in the western Mojave desert and the inner coastal ranges are now considered Quercus john-tuckeri.[8][9] It grows in woodland, chaparral, forest, and other habitat. It is most common in chaparral habitat in central Arizona,[5] through the transition zone of the Mogollon RimWhite Mountains, but also southeast Arizona in the Madrean Sky Island mountain ranges of sky islands.[10]


Quercus turbinella easily hybridizes with other oak species, including Quercus gambelii, Q. havardii, Q. arizonica, and Q. grisea.[5] Many species of animals use it for food, with wild and domesticated ungulates browsing the foliage and many birds and mammals eating the acorns.[5] Animals also use the shrub as cover, and mountain lions hide their kills in the thickets.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beckman, E. (2016). "Quercus turbinella". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T194242A2305742. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T194242A2305742.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Quercus turbinella Greene". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – via The Plant List. Note that this website has been superseded by World Flora Online
  3. ^ a b c Nixon, Kevin C. (1997). "Quercus turbinella". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). Vol. 3. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  4. ^ a b "Quercus turbinella". Calflora. Berkeley, California: The Calflora Database.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Tirmenstein, D. (1999). "Quercus turbinella". Fire Effects Information System (FEIS). US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service (USFS), Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.
  6. ^ a b Virginia Tech: Shrub live oak Archived May 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Quercus turbinella". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  8. ^ Calflora
  9. ^ SEINet, Southwestern Biodiversity, Arizona chapter photos, description, interactive distribution map
  10. ^ Little Jr., Elbert L. (1976). "Map 147, Quercus turbinella". Atlas of United States Trees. Vol. 3 (Minor Western Hardwoods). US Government Printing Office. LCCN 79-653298. OCLC 4053799.

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