Quercus chrysolepis (tree) Forest & Woodland Alliance
Canyon live oak forest and woodland

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormTree
  • Elevation450-2000 m
  • State RarityS5
  • Global RarityG5
  • DistributionUSA: CA, OR?. Baja California, Mexico (TJM2)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsYes
  • Date Added1995/11/01

Characteristic Species

Quercus chrysolepis is dominant or co-dominant in the tree canopy with Abies concolor, Acer macrophyllum, Arbutus menziesii, Calocedrus decurrens, Notholithocarpus densiflorus, Pinus coulteri, Pinus lambertiana, Pinus monophylla, Pinus ponderosa, Pseudotsuga macrocarpa, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Quercus garryana var. garryana, Quercus kelloggii, Quercus wislizeni and Umbellularia californica.

Vegetation Layers

Trees < 30 m tall; canopy is intermittent to continuous, may be one or two tiered. Shrub layer is sparse to intermittent. Herbaceous layer is sparse.

Membership Rules

  • Quercus chrysolepis > 50% relative cover in tree canopy; conifers may be emergent and sub-dominant (Keeler-Wolf et al. 2003b, Klein and Evens 2005, Evens et al. 2006)


Stream benches and terraces in canyon bottoms near streams; upland slopes on steep, shallow, rocky, infertile soils.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Canyon live oak series
NVCS (2009) Quercus chrysolepis forest alliance
Calveg Canyon live oak
Holland Canyon live oak ravine forest, Canyon live oak forest
Munz Mixed evergreen forest
WHR Montane hardwood
CDFW CA Code 71.050.00

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