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You are here >1Up Info > Wildlife, Animals, and Plants > Plant Species > Shrub > Species: Quercus oblongifolia | Mexican Blue Oak
 

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BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Quercus oblongifolia | Mexican Blue Oak
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Mexican blue oak is a native, evergreen, small tree that grows 16 to 26 feet (5-8 m) tall and 1.5 feet (0.5 m) in diameter with a broadly spreading crown [12,22,26,37]. At higher elevations, its habit is a shrub [22,26]. The bark is about 1.2 inches (3 cm) thick [6]. The leaves are oblong and small, 1 to 2 inches (2.2-5 cm) long, with entire margins [12,26]. Mexican blue oak has solitary or paired pistillate flowers; the numerous staminate flowers are in catkins [22,44]. Acorns are 0.5 to 0.7 inch (1.2-1.8 cm) long [12,37,44]. The acorn shell is very thin and surrounds one seed [6]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Asexual reproduction: Mexican blue oak sprouts abundantly after the stem is killed [33]. Sexual reproduction: No information on Mexican blue oak acorn production or germination was found in the literature. Information is available for two oak species, Arizona white oak and Emory oak, that often occur with and may be representative of Mexican blue oak. Annual acorn production is highly variable for these two species: 0 to 60 percent of the trees may produce acorns during a growing season. These oaks have no seed dormancy. Most germination occurs within 30 days after the acorns drop. Buried acorns germinate more successfully than acorns lying on the soil surface. Vertebrates and invertebrates may consume from 30 to 75 percent of the acorns produced [31]. Reproductive rates vary among Mexican blue oak populations. In riparian canyons in the encinal region of the Santa Catalina Mountains of Arizona, a Mexican blue oak population exhibited good reproduction with size classes from seedlings through 23.6 to 35.4 inches (60-90 cm) d.b.h. present [33]. In a remnant oak woodland in the San Cayetano Mountains of Arizona, Mexican blue oak populations were declining. No Mexican blue oak seedlings were found, and reproduction was poor. Of the trees examined, 94 percent were in older age classes and were greater than 7.9 feet (2.4 m) tall [2]. Growth rates of southwestern oak species are usually slow [31]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Mexican blue oak is common in foothills, mountains, and canyons from the upper edge of desert grasslands extending up to pine woodlands [7,26,33,35]. It occurs from 4,000 to 6,000 feet (1,219-1,829 m) in elevation [7,12,44]. At lower elevations from 2,625 to 3,281 feet (800-1,000 m), Mexican blue oak fingers into riparian communities [33,40]. Mexican blue oak occurs in semiarid to arid climates with biseasonal rainfall [31,33,45]. It is found on soils that are often thin, sandy, rocky, and poorly developed [15,25,31]. Mexican blue oak may grow on soils derived from granitic parent materials or mixed alluvium-colluvium [3,33]. It occurs on 15 to 80 percent slopes of all aspects, depending on moisture availability [2,3]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Obligate Climax Species Mexican blue oak is a dominant climax species in lower, open oak woodlands [3,24,33]. It is a climax understory species in pine and pinyon-juniper communities [24,34]. Mexican blue oak occasionally occurs in climax riparian communities [40]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Mexican blue oak flowers from March to May as the leaves emerge [6, 12,46]. Fruits mature the autumn after flowering [12]. Leaves persist during winter and drop in spring when the new leaves open [6].

Related categories for Species: Quercus oblongifolia | Mexican Blue Oak

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Information Courtesy: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Fire Effects Information System

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