Quercus turbinella - Greene
Shrub Live Oak
Other English Common Names: Sonoran Scrub Oak, Turbinella Live Oak
Other Common Names: Sonoran scrub oak
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Quercus turbinella Greene (TSN 19440)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.144542
Element Code: PDFAG05270
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Beech Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Fagales Fagaceae Quercus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Quercus turbinella
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly, California populations of what here is referred to as Quercus john-tuckeri have been included in the concept of Quercus turbinella. Q. john-tuckeri has subsessile fruit and noncordate leaf bases as opposed to the consistently pedunculate fruit and strongly cordate leaf bases of Q. turbinella. The two species seem to be no more closely related to each other than each might be to other southwestern oaks, and Q. john-tuckeri shares at least as many characteristics with Quercus berberidifolia as with Q. turbinella. Thus, treatment of these two taxa as varieties of the same species is inappropriate (Tucker, 1961; Flora of North America, 1993). Varieties of Quercus turbinella are now recognized at the species level (Kartesz' 1999 data). Quercus turbinella var. ajoensis is treated as Q. ajoensis, and Q. turbinella var. californica as Q. john-tuckeri.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Nov2010
Global Status Last Changed: 31Aug1988
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: It occurs in the mountains of southwestern Colorado through southern Utah and Nevada to southern California and northern Mexico. It is considered relatively secure throughout its range although fossil evidence indicated in previously occurred much further north but climate change eliminated most northern populations so the species may be susceptible to climate changes today, as well. Also, frequency, intensity, and extent of late spring freezes, and intensity and extent of the "Arizona monsoon" appear to be the major factors controlling successful sexual reproduction.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Arizona (SNR), California (S4), Colorado (SNR), Nevada (SNR), New Mexico (SNR), Texas (SNR), Utah (SNR)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: It occurs in the mountains of southwestern Colorado through southern Utah and Nevada to southern California and northern Mexico (Little, 1979; Tucker, 1961; Tirmenstein, 1999). It extends eastward to the northwestern portion of the Trans-Pecos region of western Texas (Little, 1979). Shrub live oak is most abundant in the chaparral of central Arizona (Cottam et al., 1959; Pase, 1969; Pond, 1961). Shrub live oak-Gambel oak hybrids have been reported hundreds of miles north of the present-day range of shrub live oak in parts of northern Utah and central Colorado (Cottam et al., 1959; Tucker et al., 1961). Macrofossil evidence suggests that shrub live oak migrated northward in the warmer altithermal (or hypsithermal) period during which the Arizona monsoon shifted (Cottam et al., 1959; Neilson and Wullstein, 1983). Later climatic shifts to cooler temperatures presumably eliminated shrub live oak from this northern area, but the more cold-hardy hybrids survived in some protected areas (Cottam et al., 1959).

Viability/Integrity Comments: Shrub live oak is particularly common on many low winter ranges in southern Utah and Nevada and in chaparral-desert grassland ecotones in Arizona (Tirmenstein, 1999).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Shrub live oak is drought tolerant and typically occupies drier and warmer sites than Gambel oak (Neilson and Wullstein, 1983; 1985). In the northern part of its range, shrub live oak often grows on warm, dry, southern exposures (Ffolliot and Thorud, 1974). Arizona chaparral is characterized by a biseasonal precipitation pattern with summer and winter precipitation and spring and fall droughts (Davis, 1870). Annual precipitation averages 16 to 25 inches (410-640 mm) (Ffolliot and Thorud, 1974). Shrub live oak is well adapted to survive fire (Tirmenstein, 1999). This oak typically sprouts vigorously from the root crown and rhizomes in response to fire or other types of disturbance (Davis and Pase, 1977; Pase, 1969; Saunier and Wagle, 1967; Wright et al., 1979). Postfire establishment by seed also occurs.

Environmental Specificity: Narrow to moderate.
Environmental Specificity Comments: The northern distribution of shrub live oak is limited by spring freezes and summer moisture stress (Neilson and Wullstein, 1983; Rowlands, 1993). It is strongly influenced by the "Arizona monsoon gradient," which generates summer precipitation in the Southwest. Neilson and Wullstein (1983) report that the frequency, intensity, and extent of late spring freezes, and intensity and extent of the "Arizona monsoon" appear to be the major factors controlling successful sexual reproduction in shrub live oak.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: It occurs in the mountains of southwestern Colorado through southern Utah and Nevada to southern California and northern Mexico (Little, 1979; Tucker, 1961; Tirmenstein, 1999). It extends eastward to the northwestern portion of the Trans-Pecos region of western Texas (Little, 1979). Shrub live oak is most abundant in the chaparral of central Arizona (Cottam et al., 1959; Pase, 1969; Pond, 1961). Shrub live oak-Gambel oak hybrids have been reported hundreds of miles north of the present-day range of shrub live oak in parts of northern Utah and central Colorado (Cottam et al., 1959; Tucker et al., 1961). Macrofossil evidence suggests that shrub live oak migrated northward in the warmer altithermal (or hypsithermal) period during which the Arizona monsoon shifted (Cottam et al., 1959; Neilson and Wullstein, 1983). Later climatic shifts to cooler temperatures presumably eliminated shrub live oak from this northern area, but the more cold-hardy hybrids survived in some protected areas (Cottam et al., 1959).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, TX, UT

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Shrub live oak reproduces through both sexual and vegetative means.
Sexual reproduction: Shrub live oak produces small acorns which usually germinate and establish from late July through mid-September (Pase, 1969; Tucker et al., 1961). Acorn production is largely dependent on the amount of precipitation received during the previous winter (Pase, 1969). The vast majority of shrub live oak seedling mortality is apparently attributable to drought. Shrub live oak acorns are characterized by a short period of viability, and seedbanking is unlikely. Pase (1969) reports "there is probably a negligible carryover of seeds from 1 year to the next." Very few viable seeds remain 1 year after burial, due in large part to predation by insects, birds, and mammals.
Vegetative reproduction: Shrub live oak tends to increase more through rhizome sprouting than by seedling establishment (Pase, 1969; Saunier and Wagle, 1967). Shrub live oak sprouts vigorously after fire, application of herbicides, or mechanical treatment (Davis and Pase, 1977; Pase and Lindenmuth, 1971; Wright et al., 1979).
Shrub live oak flowers from April through June. In Ventura County, California, shrub live oak usually flowers in April (Tucker, 1972). In Utah, flowering begins by April and ends by May. Shrub live oak acorns mature by the summer or early fall. Acorns were present on shrub live oak from late August to early September at 1 Arizona site (Saunier and Wagle, 1967). Acorns often germinate during the summer rainy period, with germination and emergence occurring from late July to mid-September (Pase, 1969).

Habitat Comments: Dry desert slopes, often in juniper and pinyon woodlands; 800-2000 m (Flora of North America, 1993). It grows in semiarid, lower elevation chaparral, pinyon-juniper (Pinus-Juniperus spp.), shrub deserts, oak woodlands, ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa) and riparian communities of the Southwest (Johnson, 1988; Tiedemann and Schmutz, 1967; Tucker, 1961; Welsh et al., 1987). It is a dominant shrub in Arizona chaparral and frequently comprises up to 50% of the shrub cover on these sites (Knipe et al., 1979; Pase, 1969). Soil: Shrub live oak grows well on dry hillsides and mesas and tolerates a wide range of soil types. Growth is best on sandy to clay loams. Soils are often slightly acidic (Davis and Pase, 1977). This oak is not restricted to deep soils and can grow on shallow, broken and fractured substrates (Davis and Pase, 1977; Saunier and Wagle, 1967). Soils are typically coarse-textured and poorly developed in shrub live oak chaparral (Ffolliott and Thorus, 1974).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Nov2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Cordeiro, J.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 23Nov2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Cordeiro, J.

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Cottam, W.P., J.M. Tucker, and R. Drobnick. 1959. Some clues to Great Basin postpluvial climates provided by oak distributions. Ecology 49(3):361-377.

  • Davis, E.A. 1970. Propagation of shrub live oak from cuttings. Botanical Gazette 131(1):55-61.

  • Davis, E.A. and C.P. Pase. 1977. Root system of shrub live oak: implication for water yield in Arizona chaparral. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 32:174-180.

  • Ffolliott, P.F. and D.B. Thorud. 1974. Vegetation for increased water yield in Arizona. University of Arizona Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 215. 38 pp.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1993b. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Vol. 1. Introduction. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. 372 pp.

  • Harper, K.T., F.J. Wagstaff, and L.M. Kunzler. 1985. Biology and management of the Gambel oak vegetative type: A literature review. General Technical Report INT-179. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, Utah. 31 pp.

  • Johnsen, T.N., Jr. 1988. Conditions influencing Turbinella oak (Quercus turbinella) mortality from picloram or picloram 2,4-D. Weed Science 36:810-817.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Knipe, O.D., C.P. Pase, and R.S. Carmichael. 1979. Plants of the Arizona chapparal. General Technical Report RM-64, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest Range and Experiment Station, Fort Collins, Colorado. 54 pp.

  • Little, E.L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agriculture Handbook No. 541. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. 375 pp.

  • Neilson, R.P. and L.H. Wullstein. 1983. Biogeography of two southwest American oaks in relation to atmospheric dynamics. Journal of Biogeography 10:275-297.

  • Neilson, R.P. and L.H. Wullstein. 1985. Comparative drought physiology and biogeography of Quercus gambelii and Quercus turbinella. The American Midland Naturalist 114(2):259-271.

  • Pase, C.P. 1969. Survival of Quercus turbinella and Q. emoryi seedlings in an Arizona chaparral community. The Southwestern Naturalist 14(2):149-156.

  • Pase, C.P. and A.W. Lindenmuth Jr. 1971. Effects of prescribed fire on vegetation and sediment in oak-mountain mahogany chaparral. Journal of Forestry 69:800-805.

  • Pond, F.W. 1961. Basal cover and production of weeping lovegrass under varying amounts of shrub live oak crown cover. Journal of Range Management 14:335-337.

  • Rowlands, P.G. 1993. Climate factors and the distribution of woodlands vegetation in the Southwest. The Southwestern Naturalist 38(3):185-197.

  • Saunier, R.E. and R.F. Wagle. 1967. Factors affecting the distribution of shrub live oak (Quercus turbinella Greene). Ecology 48:35-41.

  • Tiedemann, A.R. and E.M. Schmutz. 1966. Shrub control and reseeding effects on the oak chaparral of Arizona. Journal of Range Management 19:191-195.

  • Tirmenstein, D. 1999. Quercus turbinella. In: Fire Effects Information System. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available online: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ (accessed 22 November 2010).

  • Tucker, J. M. 1972. Hermaphroditic flowers in Californian oaks. Madrono 21(7):482-486.

  • Tucker, J.M., W.P. Cottam, and R. Drobnick. 1961. Studies in the Quercus undulata complex. II. The contribution of Quercus turbinella. American Journal of Botany 48(4):329-339.

  • Wright, H.A., L.F. Neuenschwander, and C.M. Britton. 1979. The role and use of fire in sagebrush-grass and pinyon-juniper plant communities: A state-of-the-art review. General Technical Report INT-58, USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ogden, Utah. 48 pp.

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