Riparian forests, woodlands, and valley savannas
Native to the Central Valley of California; cultivated elsewhere
Near Threatened (IUCN Red List)
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
These winter deciduous trees have grayish bark with a thick, blocky texture. Their distinct lobe-shaped leaves are dark green on top, lighter underneath, and 2 to 4 inches in length. They produce acorns, which are also 2 to 4 inches in length, and have an umbrella shaped canopy.
Prior to the late 1800s' agricultural clearing in the Central Valley of California, these trees were flourishing - as was the land.
Studies have shown that valley oaks are the largest of all North American oaks. In just 20 years they often grow up to 60 feet tall.
Valley oaks' life expectancy is over 250 years.
This species prefers fertile soil, this is why it is often found in valleys (as its name reflects). However, since their taproot can reach 60 feet deep within its first 10 years of life, they are known to survive extreme drought conditions.
Valley oaks are often cultivated and planted in urban areas in the western United States, including at Idlewild Park here in Reno.
Bridget Mulkerin (research & content)
Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)