Sadler oaks (Quercus sadleriana) are often an understory species beneath conifers but can grow on sunny, dry ridges and serpentine soils. Their range is approximately the same as the Brewer’s spruce (Picea breweriana) discussed in my previous post (07-14-19 “Brewer’s spruce) – in the Siskiyous and Klamath Mountains of southwest Oregon and northwest California between 2,000 and 7,200 feet. Sadler oaks are often associated with Brewer’s spruce.
Sadler oaks are shrubs between 3 and 10 feet in height. Arising from the base of a main stem and network of rhizomes, the canopy is spreading and rounded. The twigs are flexible, smooth and hairless and the bark is smooth and grey.
Sadler oak leaves resemble chestnut leaves. They are alternate, leathery and oblong to elliptical with faintly pointed tips. The leaf margins have teeth arising from evenly spaced, prominent, parallel veins. The upper leaf surfaces are shiny and green, while the lower blade surfaces are paler and slightly hairy. Sadler oak leaves are considered evergreen. However, the leaves are not strictly evergreen because they only remain until the following year’s foliage is produced.
Sadler oaks are monecious with separate male and female catkins on the same plant. The acorn fruits have caps with flat, slightly warty and hairy scales. The caps enclose about one-third of the nut.
Also called deer oak, Q sadleriana is named after John Sadler (1837 – 1882), the Assistant Secretary of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh. These specimens were photographed along the trail to Babyfoot Lake in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness (Siskiyou National Forest, Josephine County OR).