Interior Live Oak (Wislizeni)

The Interior Live Oak (Wislizeni) is generally described as a perennial tree or shrub. This is native to the U.S. (United States) .

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Wildlife Use: Interior live oak provides important food and cover for a wide variety of birds and mammals: black-tailed jackrabbit, Audubon cottontail, brush rabbit, Beechy ground squirrel, Sonoma chipmunk, beaver, porcupine, and elk. It is important for winter browse by Columbian black-tailed deer. Acorns are a valuable food source for deer and other wild ungulates, birds, and small mammals in the fall.

Ethnobotanic: After leaching away the bitter tannins, Native Americans used the acorns of many oaks (Quercus spp.) for cooking oils, soups, stews, or breads after leaching away the tannins. Interior live oak also has a high value for fuel wood and is also used for landscaping.

General Characteristics

Interior live oak is a slow-growing, variable evergreen, which grows as a large shrub or small tree. Plants may reach 30 to 75 feet in height or assume a shrub-like growth form with heights of only 8 to 10 feet. Leaves, which persist for 2 years, are mostly oblong-to-elliptic or lanceolate, and spiny-toothed to entire. Both leaf surfaces are shiny green but the upper surface is darker. Interior live oak is monoecious. Male flowers are borne in catkins 1 to 3 inches in length, whereas female flowers grow in clusters of two to four in the upper leaf axils.

Required Growing Conditions

For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site. This plant is native to California and Mexico. Interior live oak occurs from northern California in Siskiyou and Shasta counties, south along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and inner Coast Ranges, plus the Channel Islands. Adapted to the following zones in California: Douglas-fir, Ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, redwood, western hardwoods, and chaparral - mountain shrub.

Cultivation and Care

Adaptation: This species is generally found on soils with a pH range between 5.6 and 7.5, with depths of 20 to 40 inches. Interior live oak grows particularly well on dry, shallow, well-drained loams, clay loams, gravelly loams, or gravel. Interior live oak is tolerant of shade, particularly when young. Interior live oak appears to be well-adapted to persist with or without fire. For more information, consult the FEIS database.

Propagation/Regeneration: Interior live oak regenerates vegetatively after disturbance and also reproduces through seed. Cleaned acorns average approximately 125 per pound (275/kg). Annual seed production appears to be somewhat variable, although each interior live oak tree generally produces good seed crops at 5- to 7-year intervals. Acorns generally ripen after mid-August. Research indicates that the acorns of interior live oak can germinate without exposure to low temperatures. However, exposure to temperatures of 32 to 41° F can effectively stratify seed and enhance germination.

General Upkeep and Control

Interior live oak sprouts vigorously after fire or mechanical disturbance. RACO3"Prairie coneflower seeds can be planted in the fall. If they are placed in winter storage for spring planting, they should be stratified with a cold dry treatment. "

Plant Basics
General Type Tree, Shrub
Growth Duration Perennial
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA