Life History and Behavior
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure
Quercus palmeri is a species of oak known by the common name Palmer oak, or Palmer's oak. It is native to California, Baja California, and in Arizona through the transition zone to the eastern Mogollon Rim, where it grows in canyons, mountain slopes, washes, and other dry habitat types.
Quercus palmeri is a shrub or small tree generally growing 2 or 3 meters tall, but known to reach 6 meters at times. It branches into angular twigs and is reddish brown in color. The leaves are 1 to 3 centimeters in length. They are stiff, leathery, and brittle, their edges wavy with sharp spine-teeth. The upper surface is shiny, waxy, and olive green in color, the lower gray-green and coated with glandular hairs. The fruit is an acorn with a hairy cap up to 2.5 centimeters wide and a blunt-ended nut 2 to 3 centimeters long.
This oak usually grows in small populations, some of which are actually cloned growths of a single plant. One such clone in the Jurupa Mountains in Riverside County, California, named the Jurupa Oak, was determined to be over 13,000 years old, a single individual living as a relict from the Pleistocene. It is therefore one of the oldest living plants in the world.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Kartesz (1999) treats this taxon as Quercus dunnii; FNA as Quercus palmeri. They appear to be exact synonyms (for the same circumscription). Unpublished data from Kartesz incidates that he will use the Quercus palmeri name for this taxonomic concept in the next edition of the Synthesis of North American Flora.
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