Scalloped leaves, few marginal teeth; Blue Jay Campground, Cleveland National Forest, Riverside Co., CA. 10-31-10. © Joan Avise

California Scrub Oak

Quercus berberidifolia

Fagaceae

A shrubby tree from 4-15 ft.  in height with densely packed leaves and twigs.
It is common in coastal sage scrub, especially on steep dry slopes with shallow soil.  It often hybridizes with Engelmann oaks in many parts of the county, especially on Rancho Mission Viejo where most of the scrub oaks are hybrids.  It can also hybridize with Valley oak, Nuttall's scrub oak, and others.  Leaf shape and size can be quite variable making identification difficult.  Scrub oak is shade intolerant and sprouts vigorously after fire. 

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Developing fruit; Tenaja Falls Trail, San Mateo Wilderness Area, Riverside Co., CA. 7-4-11. © Joan Avise

Flat rigid leaves, developing fruit; San Juan Loop Trail, Cleveland National Forest, Riverside Co., CA.7-18-10. © Joan Avise

Acorns mature in one season; Blue Jay Campground, Cleveland National Forest, Riverside Co., CA. 10-31-10. © Joan Avise

Paler, slightly hairy below; Blue Jay Campground, Cleveland National Forest, Riverside Co., CA. 10-31-10. © Joan Avise

10' shrub with densely packed leaves; Blue Jay Campground, Cleveland National Forest, Riverside Co., CA. 10-31-10. © Joan Avise

Male catkins; Aliso +Wood Cyns. Wilderness Park, Laguna Niguel, CA. 4-18-09. © Joan Avise

Underside of leaf showing stellate trichomes. Laguna Beach, Orange County, CA. 12-15-11. © Peter J. Bryant

Male catkins. Wood Canyon, Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Orange County, CA. 3-31-12. © Peter J. Bryant

Male catkins and female flowers (circled). Wood Canyon, Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Orange County, CA. 4-1-12. © Peter J. Bryant

Female flowers (~2mm diam.). Wood Canyon, Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Orange County, CA. 4-1-12. © Peter J. Bryant
Cynipidae (Gall Wasps) inducing galls on scrub oak: First row (as available), inducing wasps; second row, galls or gall types from which the corresponding wasp hatched.
Crystalline Disc Gall Wasp,
Andricus crystallinus

Disc Gall Wasp,
Andricus parmula

Oak apple Gall Wasp,
Andricus quercuscalifornicus

Antron douglasii

PBCyn12
 

Cynips conspicuus
   
Beaked Twig Gall Wasp,
Disholcaspis plumbella

Beaked Twig Gall Inquiline,
Synergus sp.
   
 

PBCyn1

PBCyn2

PBCyn9

PBCyn10

PBCyn11