Quercus agrifolia Forest & Woodland Alliance
Coast live oak woodland and forest

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation0-1200 m
  • State RarityS4
  • Global RarityG5
  • DistributionUSA: CA. Baja California, Mexico (TJM2)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsYes
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Quercus agrifolia is dominant or co-dominant in the tree canopy with Acer macrophyllum, Acer negundo, Arbutus menziesii, Juglans californica, Platanus racemosa, Populus fremontii, Quercus douglasii, Quercus engelmannii, Quercus kelloggii, Quercus lobata, Salix lasiolepis and Umbellularia californica.

Vegetation Layers

Trees < 30 m tall; canopy is open to continuous. Shrub layer is sparse to intermittent.Herbaceous layer is sparse or grassy.

Membership Rules

  • Quercus agrifolia > 50% relative cover in the tree canopy; if Umbellularia californica trees present, then < 33% relative cover in the tree canopy (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003a, Evens and San. 2004, Keeler-Wolf and Evens 2006).
  • Quercus agrifolia > 60% relative cover in the tree canopy (Evens and San 2005, Klein and Evens 2005).


Alluvial terraces, canyon bottoms, stream banks, slopes, flats. Soils are deep, sandy or loamy with high organic matter.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Coast live oak series
NVCS (2009) Quercus agrifolia woodland alliance
Calveg Coastal mixed hardwood, Coast live oak
Holland Central Coast live oak riparian forest, Southern Coast live oak riparian forest, Coast live oak woodland, Coast live oak forest
Munz Foothill woodland, Southern oak woodland
WHR Coastal oak woodland
CDFW CA Code 71.060.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Mesomorphic Tree Vegetation (Forest and Woodland)
Formation Subclass Temperate Forest
Formation Warm Temperate Forest
Division Madrean Forest and Woodland
Macro Group California Forest and Woodland
Group Californian broadleaf forest and woodland