Scientific name: Quercus Gambelii
Alternate Names: Scrub Oak, Rocky Mountain White Oak, Utah White Oak
Description: Deciduous large shrub or small tree with rounded crown, often in colonies from underground creeping root system. This is the characteristic oak of Arizona’s Oak Creek Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park and Colorado foothills south of Denver. Grows well on dry slopes.
Leaves: 2-7 inches long, 1.5 to 3.5 inches wide, with 7 to 11 deep lobes. They are smooth on the upper surface, hairy below. Dark green color turns to yellow, orange or reddish in fall.
Fruits: Broadly oval acorns, ¾ inch, are nearly half enclosed by a bowl-shaped cup with hairy scales.
Elevation: 5,000 to 8,000 feet.
Height: Grows very slowly and usually reaches 15 to 30 feet tall; some can reach taller in their effort to find full sun
Diameter: 5 to 10 inches
Bark: Similar to White Oak’s bark: gray, rough, narrow vertical block of scaly plates.
Habitat: Slopes and valleys, in mountains, foothills, plateaus; scattered with Ponderosa Pine.
Climate-readiness: USDA Zones 4-7. Does well now, may be challenged by higher temperatures in the future.
Range: New Mexico, Utah, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Nevada. Tolerant of both cold mountains and low, warmer areas.
Uses: Fence posts and fuel
Wildlife: Foliage is browsed by deer and sometimes livestock. Wild Turkeys, squirrels, and other wildlife, as well as hogs and other domestic animals eat the sweetish acorns.