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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 provided on this page is based on research we have conducted about this plant in our nursery's library, from what we have found about it on reliable online sources, as well as from observations in our nursery of crops of this plant as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing  Quercus berberidifolia.