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Zones 7-9, 14-16, 18-21
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Quercus wislizenii

Interior Live Oak
Fagaceae
Evergreen, Trees

QUERCUS

The archetypal oak grows large and spreads wide, with muscular, near-horizontal lower branches that seem to defy gravity. But the group’s 500 species, all native to the Northern Hemisphere, also include upright, pyramidal, and shrubby oaks; in fact, “chaparral” comes from chaparra—Spanish for a dwarf evergreen shrub oak. Oak leaves can be deciduous or evergreen (the latter are called live oaks); lobed, toothed, or smooth edged; but they’re always arranged in an alternate pattern along stems. Some have terrific fall color. All oaks produce inconspicuous flowers followed by acorns, whose single nuts have cuplike caps covered with closely set scales. Some kinds of acorns are edible and sweet, while others are bitter and unpalatable.

Oaks come in two broad categories: white oaks have acorns that mature during the season in which they are produced, and often have leaves with rounded lobes; red and black oaks have acorns that take two seasons to mature, and often have leaves with pointed lobes. Each group can hybridize only within itself. 

Quercus wislizenii

This evergreen tree is native to the Sierra foothills, eastern side of Coast Ranges, and the interior valleys from southern Oregon to Southern California. Grows to 30–75 ft. tall, often broader than high, with a dense, rounded canopy. Elliptical glossy green leaves have smooth or spiny edges and abruptly pointed tip. Slender, conical, sharp-pointed, 3/4–1 1/2-in. acorns are enclosed by one-fourth to one-half in a flat-scaled cap. Handsome tree for parks and big lawns. Young plants are sparse and angular, offering little hint of their ultimate beauty.

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