Oak trees are in the family Fagaceae which is derived from the Latin word Fagus which means, “to eat.” Trees in the family Fagaceae indeed have edible fruits called acorns. They are also monoecious trees which means you can find both male and female flowers on the same tree. The flowers are small and inconspicuous because they have no petals. The male flowers have between 4 and 40 stamens and are usually grouped in clusters called catkins. The female flowers have a single pistil and are surrounded by a bract which becomes the acorn at full maturity. The female flowers can be solitary or in small clusters often near the base of the male flowers. The leaves are simple and pinnately veined with margins that are often lobed.
Oak trees are in the genus Quercus
, which is a Latin word that is thought to have been derived from the Celtic quer “fine” and cuez “tree.” There are about 400 different species including some deciduous and some evergreen. Common oak species include white oak, black oak, and live oak.
Some of my favorite places to see oak trees in California are: Southwestern Sierra Foothills including Kaweah Oaks Preserve, Henry Coe State Park, and Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Area.
Feel free to attach your photos of oaks!