Discovering the Desert / Diverse Landscapes

Hybrid Oak (Quercus x munzii)

Hybrid Oak (Quercus x munzii)

Plantae, Anthophyta, Dicotyledoneae, Fagales, Fagaceae

This specimen from Joshua Tree National Park is recognized as a unique hybrid between the valley oak (Quercus lobata) and the turbinella oak (Quercus turbinella). While the turbinella oak can be found locally, the valley oak grows only in the San Joaquin Valley area, 150 miles from Joshua Tree.

There are several hypotheses as to how valley oak could have been introduced in the area. Most botanists now believe the valley oak population likely shifted southeast during one of the long-term weather fluctuations before the mid-1600s.

One desert ecologist suggests that the oak was intentionally brought to the Joshua Tree area by humans. Indigenous communities have maintained and transplanted a variety of important food plants such as acorns, and medicine trees and plants for centuries. Oak trees could be found within 5-20 miles of most villages.

H 42, W 29 cm
Joshua Tree National Park, JOTR 16705