Fagaceae (beech family) Quercus

Quercus palmeri Palmer oak

California, Arizona, northwest Mexico
Quercus palmeri with acorn cup golden and flared at the rim, Hualapai Mountain Park, Arizona. Acorn nuts have not been seen on Stanford’s specimens. Sairus Patel, 5 Sep 2022
Quercus palmeri at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. Sairus Patel, 2023

A small group of this shrubby evergreen oak quietly grows southeast of Searsville Lake at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, in a spot known as Buckeye Alley. Remarkably rare in the area, the nearest place where this species has been reported is the Sunol Regional Wilderness in the East Bay. Closely related to Q. chrysolepis, indeed once considered a subspecies of it, it can be distinguished by having fewer secondary leaf veins (10–14, versus 24 or greater) and rigid rather than flexible small twigs. Leaf margins are viciously spined. Golden hairs sparsely cover the pale leaf undersides. Only acorn cups have been found on our specimens, nuts are missing.

Illustrations: Jasper Ridge photos.

About this Entry: Authored by Sairus Patel, Oct 2023.