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Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii)
Trees Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii)

General: Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii) is a shrubby tree of the middle-elevation mountains with acorns (or at least acorn caps from last year) and 2- to 3-inch-long, lobed leaves with smooth edges (no spine on lobe tips). Compare with the leaves of Shrub Live Oak (Quercus turbinella).

Gambel Oak is an uncommon component of vegetation communities on middle-elevation mountain canyons and slopes in the Upper Sonoran (Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) and Transition (Yellow Pine Forest) life zones.


Family: Oak (Fagaceae).

Other Names: Scrub oak, Gambel's Oak; Quercus turbinella.

Plant Form: Subtree, evergreen; sometimes clumped and spreading.

Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii)


Height: 6 to 15 feet, sometimes to about 20 feet.

Bark: Bark gray or brown, scaly.

Stems: Twigs brown or reddish brown.

Leaves: Petiole about 1/2 inch long. Blade oval, to 3 inches, with 4-6 deep lobes. Lobes without spines. Evergreen.

Flowers: Blooms mid-late spring. Staminate inflorescences: catkins, slender, flowers many. Pistillate inflorescence among upper leaves. Staminate and pistillate flowers minute; no petals.

Seeds: Acorn, solitary or paired. Cap deeply cup-shaped, enclosing up to half of the acorn. Acorn green, aging to brown in 1 year.

Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii)

Habitat: Moist mountain slopes, shady canyons, and ravines.

Elevation: 4,000 to 6,400 feet.

Distribution: Southwestern U.S. to Texas and south into Mexico.

Comments: Gambel oak hybridizes with other scrub oaks, sometimes making identification difficult.

Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii) Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 171104

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