Oaktopia

Tree Blog

Santa Cruz Mountain Live Oaks

The Santa Cruz mountains of northern California present a rather bewildering array of "live oaks", where "live" simply designates a broadleaf tree which holds green leaves throughout the year, otherwise known as a broadleaf evergreen tree. Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia), Interior Live Oak (Quercus wislizenii), Shreve Oak (Quercus parvula var. shreveii) all grow with Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii), and all of these are reproductively compatible, meaning the mountains are filled with variable hybrid forms. There is another "live" oak in these mountains, the Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis), and it might just be the most common oak in these mountains, creating great confusion in discerning which is who. 

Dave Muffly