Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia)
Coast live oak is the only California native oak that actually thrives in the coastal environment. It enjoys the mild winter and summer climate afforded by ocean proximity, and it is somewhat tolerant of aerosol-borne sea salt. It is the dominant overstory plant of the coast live oak woodland habitat. Normally the tree is found on well drained soils of coastal hills and plains, often near year round or perennial streams.
At least twelve distinct cultures of Native Americans are known to have consumed the acorns as a dietary staple. In the 18th century Spaniards in the San Fernando Valley used the wood for charcoal to fire kilns in making adobe. Later this form of charcoal would be utilized in the baking, gunpowder and electric power industries. In the 18th and 19th centuries shipbuilders sought out the odd angular branches to make special joints. Pioneers moving west would harvest small amounts for making farm implements and wagon wheels, but the greatest impact was the wholesale clearing of oak woodlands to erect sprawling cities such as San Diego and San Francisco. The irregular shape often let the tree escape widespread harvest for building timbers, and also led the early settlers to Its stateliness has made it a subject of historical landscape painters throughout California modern history since the mid-19th century. (Source: Coast Live Oak, (Quercus agrifolia)