Characteristics of Arizona Blue Oak Tree (Quercus oblongifolia) in the Wild

Quercus oblongifolia
Arizona blue oak or Blue live oak (Quercus oblongifolia) is a species of an evergreen oak tree that is a large shrub in the white oak group.

Arizona blue oak grows in the high meadows, canyons, and mesas of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and northwestern Mexico (including Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Sinaloa, and the states of Sonora). This tree is also sometimes referred to as the Sonoran blue oak.

Quercus oblongifolia is closely related to the Engelman oak tree (Quercus engelmannii) in Southern California. The two species may be similar and may be combined as one species.

Arizona blue oak trees are found at elevations ranging from 1,200 to 1,800 m asl. Often found on thin sandy soils in semi-arid areas and is the dominant species in lower open oak forests where it grows together with Arizona white oak (Quercus arizonica) and Emory oak (Quercus emoryi).

The Arizona blue oak is considered important in the pinyon-juniper community, where it grows together with species of pine and juniper, Arizona rosewood (Vauquelinia californica), Shrubby buckwheat (Eriogonum wrightii), Catclaw mimosa (Mimosa aculeaticarpa), Bullgrass (Muhlenbergia emersleyi), Plains lovegrass (Eragrostis intermedia), Fendlerbush (Fendlera rupicola), and Wolftail (Lycurus phleoides)

As well as being an important community tree in the wild, the Arizona blue oak is also popular in landscape trees in California with many plantings in Apple Park and other Gulf areas. Arizona blue oak grows fast and its blue foliage looks very beautiful, making it an excellent tree for cultivation.

Characteristics of Arizona Blue Oak Leaf

Quercus oblongifolia Leaf

The leaves are small, alternating, oval, leathery, bluish-green above and green below.


Characteristics of Arizona Blue Oak Flower

Quercus oblongifolia Flower

The flowers appear in spring at the same time as the growth of new leaves. Male flowers form yellowish-green catkins and female flowers are solitary or in pairs and grow in leaf axils.


Characteristics of Arizona Blue Oak Fruit

Quercus oblongifolia Fruit

The fruit is ovoid or oblong, about 2 cm long, and nestled in a bowl-shaped scaly cup about one-third the length of the nut. The young fruit is green and turns orange to red when ripe.


Characteristics of Arizona Blue Oak Tree

Quercus oblongifolia Tree

Arizona blue oak can grow to a height of 5-8 meters with a round crown. At higher elevations, this tree usually forms a large shrub. The stems are up to 50 cm in diameter and the bark is light gray and densely grooved. The branches are yellowish-brown and hairless with reddish-brown buds.


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