An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

GAMBEL OAK, Shinnery



GAMBEL OAK-Quercus gambelii Nutt.

DESCRIPTION-One of the two oaks in Arizona which sheds its leaves each fall, Gambel oak is a shrub, often forming small dense thickets, or a tree, 6 1/2 to sometimes 50 feet high. The bright green alternate leaves are 2 to 6 inches long, deeply lobed, and usually cut more than half way to the midvein. The pointed, eggshaped acorn is about 1/2 inch long, and matures the first year. The cup is hairless on the inside, and covers l/3 to 1/2 of the acorn.

DISTRIBUTION-Gambel oak is common throughout Arizona, except in the extreme western parts. It occurs in open places on mountain slopes, plateaus, canyons, in yellow pine, pinyon-juniper, and upper chaparral-oak woodland; 5,000 to 8,000 feet elevation. It is a good habitat plant for deer and turkey.

POISONOUS PROPERTIES-Livestock and deer eat the large, abundant leaves whenever available, and the acorns in the fall. It is fairly palatable forage, but, like all oaks, contains tannic acid. Gambel oak is the principal offender in oak poisoning in Arizona, especially among cattle. Poisoning usually occurs in the spring when other forage is lacking. Stock losses result from a diet of 50% or more oak over a considerable period. Gambel oak poisoning occurs in the Prescott area, and other areas where dense stands are formed.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents

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