Quercus tarokoensis has a very restricted distribution to occurrences in a narrow endemic range n eastern Taiwan. This oak species occurs only on steep limestone slopes and ridges.
Based on molecular genetics analysis, the genus Quercus is estimated to have separated from Castanea about 60 million years ago. Oaks first appeared in the fossil record in North America during the Paleogene between 55 to 50 million years b.p. Most interspecific separations occurred within the Quercus species between 22 and three million years ago. During this period, oaks became the most dominant tree type in the Fagaceae family.