Growth Form:Tree, or large shrub; plants evergreen, bark dark brown to black, deep fissures, twigs dark reddish brown, pubescent, terminal bud reddish brown, trunk mostly straight, tree top a round crown.
Flower Color: Yellow, male flower with long drooping yellow catkins, females have small spikes in leaf axils; monecious; fruit is an oblong red acorn with a yellowish cap, ripens in early fall.
Flowering Season: March or April through May, fruiting from August and October.
Elevation: 3,000 feet to 8,000 feet - (914-2400 m)
Habitat Preferences: Dry foothills, moist canyons, riparian area and slopes; plant communities include pine, western hardwoods, oak woodlands, pinyon-juniper and chaparral. Emory Oak is a dominant, co dominant or sub-dominant in all community types of the pine-oak woodlands above 4,000 feet.
Recorded Range: Emory Oak is found in the southwestern United States in central AZ east into NM and western TX. It's range also extends into northern Mexico (Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila (including Parque Nacional Maderas del Carmen), Durango, Nuevo León, and San Luis Potosí). In Arizona it is found in north central, central south-central and southeastern parts of the state. In New Mexico it is found generally in the southwestern part of the state and in Texas it occurs in the far south west part of the state.
U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.
Genus Information: In North America there are 106 species for Quercus. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 597 accepted species names for the genus.
In the Southwestern United States, in addition to a host of hybrids Arizona has 15 species of Quercus, California has 22 species, Nevada has 4 species, New Mexico has 17 species, Texas has 48 species, Utah has 3 species. All data approximate and subject to revision.
Comments: Emory Oak plays a significant role in the flora of the southwestern United States. In addition to their importance as a keystone species, habitat and firewood, they are used in desert and upland landscaping, as the plants are drought tolerant and may grow up to 65 feet tall (20 m) with regular watering. Emory Oak has a similar leaf appearance to Arizona White Oak, Q. grisea and to Mexican Blue Oak,Q. oblongifolia. Where distributions overlap in Texas, Emory Oak hybridizes with Graceful Oak, Q. graciliformis.
The U. S. Forest Service has an excellent site with detailed information about Emory Oak on-line at: Fire Effects Information System (FEIS).
Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies, Birds and Insects
Emory Oak, Quercus emoryi is a host plant for the following butterfly caterpillars: - Find out more from Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA).
Moth, Dicogaster coronada, Found in Arizona, larvae have been reared on Quercus oblongifolia and Q. emoryi.
Stone's buckmoth, Hemileuca stonei, Caterpillar Hosts: Mexican blue oak (Quercus oblongifolia) and Emory oak (Q. emoryi).
Dull Firetip, Apyrrothrix araxes, Caterpillar Hosts: Arizona oak (Quercus arizonica), Emory Oak (Q. emoryi),
Oculea silkmoth, Antheraea oculea, Caterpillar Hosts: Emory oak (Quercus emoryi), Mexican blue oak (Q. oblongifolia), Arizona black walnut (Juglans major).
Poling's Hairstreak, Satyrium polingi, Emory Oak provides both flower nectar and is a host plant for this endangered species whose home range is now restricted to Davis and Chisos mountains of Texas, the Organ mountains of New Mexico ("sky islands") and southward to Coahuila, Mexico. Poling's Hairstreak is Endangered throughout its range and is listed as a G2 species, "Imperiled because of rarity" possibly due to habitat loss and wildfires.
Importance to Wildlife
Throughout their entire range, these native plants are important to wildlife. Their acorns are valuable and readily eaten by deer, Javelina, turkey, squirrels, other mammals and birds including Acorn Woodpeckers, Quail and Band-tailed Pigeon. They are also eaten by livestock.
The genus "Quercus" is from Latin, meaning "oak" and the species epithet "emoryi" is named in honor of William Hemsley Emory (1811-1887), a surveyor for the United States Army who led the Mexican Survey.
Quercus emoryi, Emory Oak has been used for food and as a cooking agent by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.
Apache, Western Food, Unspecified, Acorns eaten whole and raw, ground on a metate or boiled.
Papago Food, Candy, Acorns chewed as a confection.
Papago Food, Unspecified, Acorns eaten fresh from the shell.
Papago Food, Unspecified, Acorns used for food.
Yavapai Food, Cooking Agent, Ground meat used as thickening for venison stew.
Yavapai Food, Winter Use Food, Nuts stored for later use.
See complete species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.