Gambel Oak

DESCRIPTION: Tree. The gambel oak ranges throughout much of the Western region of North America from Northern Utah, Southern Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, Northwestern Oklahoma, Southern Nevada, and Northern Mexico. This species usually grows at 5000-8000ft. It generally grows in mountains, foothills, plateaus, slopes and valleys surrounded by ponderosa pines in some regions. The gambel oak often grows in dense groves. It ranges from 20-70’ in height and around 2’ in diameter. The leaves on the gambel oak are oblong, rounded at the tip with straight or curved edges. The size of the leaves varies as well as the hairiness. The leaves are dark green with a shiny on the top and a paler green with fine hairs on the bottom. During the autumn months, the leaves change to vibrant colors of yellow and reddish orange. During the spring and summer, the gambel oak produces flowers. The flowers are both male and female and pollinate via the wind. The tree also produces acorns they are usually 1 /2-3/4in. long. They first appear on the tree as green egg shaped vessels with a thick outer shell. The acorns develop fully by autumn and become a vibrant shade of brown. The tree requires dry or moist soil to grow.
Uses: Non-medicinal. The seeds produced by the gambel oak have been a staple food for Native Americans. Either the whole seed can be used of it can be ground into a fine powder and used as a coffee substitute. The seed cups were also once used as buttons. The leaves produce mulch that will prevent slugs and other pest from invading plants. Humans and animals have many uses for the gambel oak. The tree also attracts many foraging animals such as deer and elk. It also provides shelter for smaller species like squirrels and chipmunks. The gambel oak makes a good building material and provides an excellent source of firewood. Medicinal uses. The gambel oak will occasionally produce galls that contain powerful astringents. The astringents are often used to treat hemorrhages, chronic diarrhea, and dysentery. The acorns produced by the oak give greater sexual potency. The bark of the tree is analgesic and cathartic often used to treat postpartum pain and to help facilitate the delivery of the placenta


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Quercus gambelii
This page was authored by Meredith Fourre