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Products > Quercus berberidifolia
Quercus berberidifolia - California Scrub Oak

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Fagaceae (Oaks)
Origin: California (U.S.A.)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Green
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Height: 8-10 feet
Width: 10-15 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): No Irrigation required
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Quercus berberidifolia (California Scrub Oak) - A small slow growing and long lived evergreen shrub that eventually can grow into a dense mound up to 9 to 10 feet tall by slightly wider. It has smooth gray to grey-green bark and small leathery holly-like leaves that on the undersides have only a few hairs (trichomes), distinguishing it from another related oak, Nuttall's Scrub Oak, Quercus dumosa - both species were previously lumped together under this latter name. Flowering occurs late winter to early spring with separate male catkins and female flowers on the same plant and with female flowers followed by small fat acorns that are also distinctively different from the narrow ones of Quercus dumosa. Plant in full sun to part shade in a well-drained soil and water only occasionally (monthly) the first few years during summer months after planting and then infrequently to not at all once established. As a young plant California Scrub Oak can be a little open and scraggly, but with age it makes a nice informal screening shrub, a back of the garden dark green shrub as a foil to smaller lighter colored foliage or trimmed to be a more formal hedge or up as small shade tree. This is the coastal shrub oak that occupies the front range of the coastal scrub community up to an elevation of about 2,000 feet and our plants grown from seed collected at Hay Hill in the Toro Canyon area of Santa Barbara County. The name for the genus is the old name know to denote oaks and was derived from the Celtic words 'quer' meaning fine and 'cuez' meaning tree. The specific epithet means "barberry-leaved" in reference to the spiny leaf margins that are like those of plants in the genus Berberis.  The information about Quercus berberidifolia displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.