Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 24 hours
Stratification: cold stratify for 60 days , or until radicle emergence
Germination: sow 1-2" deep, tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed
Other: fall sowing in mulched beds is prefered to artificial stratification
Quercus durata, commonly known as the California Scrub Oak or Leather Oak, is a unique and beautiful oak tree that is native to California. This evergreen shrub is often used as an urban tree and is also highly valued for its medicinal properties.
Quercus durata is an oak endemic to California, specifically growing in the Coast Ranges and northern Sierra Nevada. It is often found in serpentine chaparrals and is considered a strict serpentine endemic. The plant is typically a shrub, reaching a height of 3 meters (10 feet), but it can also be much shorter.
The leaves of Quercus durata are a distinguishing feature of the plant. They are rarely flat and are usually cupped, with a thick layer of small branching hairs on the underside, giving them a felt-like texture. This unique characteristic adds to its distinctive appearance.
Cultivating Quercus durata is common in urban areas due to its ornamental value. Its evergreen foliage provides year-round greenery, making it an attractive addition to any landscape. Additionally, its medicinal properties make it highly valued by herbalists. The plant has been used by Native American peoples as a source of food and medicine. The acorns of Quercus durata were traditionally leached to remove tannins and then mashed to create a nutritious mush. It was a culinary staple for many tribes.
Quercus durata is highly adaptable to different soil types and can grow in a range of conditions, including those with high magnesium and low calcium concentration. It can tolerate strong winds but not maritime exposure. It prefers moist soil and can grow in both semi-shade and no shade. The plant is hardy in zone 8 and is frost tender.
In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, Quercus durata plays an important role in various plant associations and ecosystems. It is a dominant shrub in Sargent Cypress woodlands, found in coastal portions of several California counties. It is also found in ultramafic chaparrals and other plant communities.
Overall, Quercus durata is a versatile and valuable plant, appreciated for its beauty, medicinal properties, and ecological significance. Whether you're looking to enhance your garden or explore its medicinal uses, Quercus durata is an excellent choice.