Quercus turbinella

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Quercus turbinella
Quercus turbinella 3.jpg
Quercus turbinella 2.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fagales
Family: Fagaceae
Genus: Quercus
Species: Q. turbinella
Binomial name
Quercus turbinella
Greene 1889
Quercus turbinella range map 1.png
Natural range
  • Quercus dumosa subsp. turbinella (Greene) A.E.Murray
  • Quercus dumosa var. turbinella (Greene) Jeps.
  • Quercus subturbinella Trel.

Quercus turbinella is a North American species of oak known by the common names Turbinella oak, Arizona shrub live oak, and Gray shrub oak.[3] It is native to northwestern Mexico and the southwestern United States[4]


Quercus turbinella has been found in Baja California, Sonora, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, southern California, and western Texas.[5][6] It has to date not been found in Chihuahua, but some of the known populations in Sonora and New Mexico lie only a few kilometers from the Chihuahuan border, so it is to be looked for in that state.[7] It grows in woodland, chaparral, forest, and other habitat. It is most common in chaparral habitat in central Arizona,[8] through the transition zone of the Mogollon RimWhite Mountains, but also southeast Arizona in the Madrean Sky Island mountain ranges of sky islands.[4]


Quercus turbinella is a shrub growing 2–5 meters (6.6–16.4 ft) in height but sometimes becoming treelike and exceeding 6 meters (20 feet). 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 centimeters (1.2 inches) long by 2 cm (0.79 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.[9] 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.[8][10]

Quercus turbinella easily hybridizes with other oak species, including Quercus gambelii and Q. grisea.[8] Many species of animals use it for food, with wild and domesticated ungulates browsing the foliage and many birds and mammals eating the acorns.[8] Animals also use the shrub as cover, and mountain lions hide their kills in the thickets.[8]


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