The valley oak (Quercus lobata) is the largest of North American oaks. It ranges over the hot interior valleys of California. Mature oaks may live up to 600 years. The deciduous oak requires year-round access to groundwater. The valley oak has deeply lobed leaves and characteristic “galls” on its branches. The galls are nesting chambers made by indigenous wasps. Valley oak acorns fall in October, just in time for mammals and birds to harvest them for winter. Acorn woodpeckers, wood ducks, grey squirrels, and deer are some of the wildlife that love to eat valley oak acorns.
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