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Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis)
Trees Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis)

General: Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis) is a fairly large, tree-like oak with small, spiny leaves (the other oak with small, spiny leaves, Shrub Live Oak, is more shrub-like). This tree hybridizes with other oaks, sometimes making exact identification difficult.

Canyon Live Oak is an uncommon component of vegetation communities along washes and in desert canyons and north-facing slopes in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zones.


Family: Oak (Fagaceae).

Other Names: Maul oak.

Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis)

Plant Form: Upright, many branched, rounded, evergreen tree.

Height: Usually to about 20 feet; to 65 feet.

Trunk: Single trunk branches early producing a rounded tree.

Bark: Narrowly furrowed, scaly, light gray.


Leaves: Blade 1 to 2-inches long, stiff, oblong, margin lobes with spines; upper surface dark green, lower surface grayish.

Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis)

Flowers: Blooms in the spring. Flowers small and inconspicuous.

Seeds: Acorn to about 1-1/4 inch.

Habitat: Edge of washes, canyons; shady, north-facing slopes.

Elevation: About 600 to 8,500 feet.

Distribution: California to Oregon, east to Arizona, and south into Baja California.

Comments: Gets a hard, roundish growth on the twigs called "galls." These are caused by insects. A female gall midge lays eggs on or in the twig, and the young larvae produce chemicals (hormones) that cause the cancer-like growth. The larvae eat the material produced inside the gall, then develop and emerge to repeat their cycle of life.

Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis) Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis)
Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis)
Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis)
Insect gall
Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis) Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 170702

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