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Bear Oak (Quercus ilicifolia Wangenh.)

Also known as scrub oak.

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Bear Oak


A small, shrubby oak, typically inhabiting harsh habitats, such as fire-prone barrens or rock outcroppings, where large trees cannot grow.

Range - Expand

Native or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.

Description & Identification

Bear oak is often confused with other oaks that can be found in harsh, barren habitats. It can occur together with other oak species, and these other species can have altered appearances that make them look more similar to this species than they would in other habitats.

Similar Plants

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Blackjack Oak (Quercus marilandica)
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Black Oak (Quercus velutina)
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Occurs on fire-prone barrens.

Bear Oak | Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) (About This Site)

Quercus ilicifolia (Bear Oak) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Quercus ilicifolia | Go Botany (About This Site)

Bear Oak | Virginia Tech Dendrology Factsheets (About This Site)

Quercus ilicifolia | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Photo gallery

Photo © Laura Gaudette, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Doug Goldman, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Laura, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © ttadevosyan, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Doug Goldman, CC BY 4.0.
Photo © Doug Goldman, CC BY 4.0.