Californian White Oak (Quercus lobata)

Q. hindsii.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Californian White Oak
Quercus lobata

A mulch of the leaves repels slugs, grubs etc, though fresh leaves should not be used as these can inhibit plant growth[20].

Oak galls are excrescences that are sometimes produced in great numbers on the tree and are caused by the activity of the larvae of different insects. The insects live inside these galls, obtaining their nutrient therein. When the insect pupates and leaves, the gall can be used as a rich source of tannin, that can also be used as a dyestuff[4].

The acorn meal has been used to mend cracks in clay pots[257].

Wood – hard and fine grained but brittle and weak. Of no commercial value, it is used only for fuel[82, 229].

  • Medicinal Use

    Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc[4]. A poultice of the ground galls and salt has been used as a treatment for burns, sores and cuts[257].

    A decoction of the bark has been used as a cough medicine and a treatment for diarrhoea[257]. The pulverized bark has been used as a dusting powder to dry up running sores, it is particularly useful for babies with sore umbilicus[257].

  • Edible Use

    Seed – cooked[257]. A staple food for several native North American Indian tribes[257]. Quite large, it is up to 5cm long and 15mm wide[82, 200]. The seed of this species is sweet and low in tannin and needs little if any leeching[183, 229]. Any bitter tannins can be leached out by thoroughly washing the dried and ground up seed in water, though many minerals will also be lost. A simple taste test can tell when the tannin has been leached. The traditional method of preparing the seed was to bury it in boggy ground overwinter. The germinating seed was dug up in the spring when it would have lost most of its astringency. The seed can be roasted and then eaten, its taste is something like a cross between sunflower seeds and popcorn[183]. The seed can also be ground into a powder and used in making bread etc[183].

    Roasted seed is a coffee substitute.

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – it quickly loses viability if it is allowed to dry out. It can be stored moist and cool overwinter but is best sown as soon as it is ripe in an outdoor seed bed, though it must be protected from mice, squirrels etc. Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold frame. Plants produce a deep taproot and need to be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible, in fact seed sown in situ will produce the best trees[11]. Trees should not be left in a nursery bed for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved or they will transplant very badly.
Prefers a good deep fertile loam which can be on the stiff side[1, 11]. Young plants tolerate reasonable levels of side shade[200]. Tolerates moderate exposure, surviving well but being somewhat stunted[200]. Prefers warmer summers than are usually experienced in Britain, trees often grow poorly in this country and fail to properly ripen their wood resulting in frost damage overwinter[11, 200]. A fairly long-lived tree in the wild, with specimens 300 – 400 years old recorded[229]. It is very slow growing in Britain, but there is a specimen at Kew that was 27 metres tall in 1988[11]. The tree flowers on new growth produced in spring, the seed ripening in its first year[200, 229]. Good crops are produced in the wild every 2 – 3 years[229]. Intolerant of root disturbance, trees should be planted in their permanent positions whilst young[11]. Hybridizes freely with other members of the genus[200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
South-western N. America – California.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.