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QUERCUS polymorpha

Image of Quercus polymorpha

JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University

Family

Fagaceae

Botanical Name

QUERCUS polymorpha

Plant Common Name

Mexican White Oak, Monterey Oak, Netleaf White Oak

General Description

The fast growing Monterrey oak is a heat-tolerant shade tree with dark-green oval leaves. This partially evergreen tree is widespread across Guatemala and Mexico, and occasionally in the canyons of extreme western Texas. The bark is scale-like and gray to brown.

In spring, new leaves emerge with red or pink tones before turning fully green or bluish green, and becoming thick and waxy. They lack the lobes most often associated with oaks, and have margins that are wavy and have very small bristles. In mid to late spring, the green male flowers, called catkins, are borne on a pendent string from the reddish twigs and lack petals. After pollen is shed, the small female flowers open at the base of the young leaves at branch tips. The acorns are slightly oval to robustly round and can range in color from deep purple to brown. Small mammals and large birds use the acorns for food. The foliage remains on the tree until winter temperatures dip well below freezing, and then only a portion of the foliage drops.

Monterrey oak needs full sun and tolerates a wide range of well-drained soils. It has a shallow root system, but is remarkably drought and heat tolerant. A fast grower, it will quickly attain a pyramidal shape in its youth and then become more rounded with age. Use this oak as a shade or street tree in mild-winter regions that have loam or clay soils. The fallen leaves take considerable time to decompose and overall this species is not susceptible to any major disease problems common with other oaks in warm regions. Investigate the nursery source to ensure that a tree marked as a Monterey oak is of pure origin, and not a hybrid, possibly with diminished disease resistance or drought tolerance.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 10

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    30'-50' / 9.1m - 15.2m (40)

  • Width

    30'-35' / 9.1m - 10.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Texas, Mexico, Central America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Light Green

  • Fruit Color

    Purple, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Red, Light Green, Pink

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Blue Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Blue Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Platy

  • Usage

    Screening / Wind Break, Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes