Common name: Bamboo-leaf oak, Japanese live oak, Japanese white oak, Chinese evergreen oak
Quercus myrsinifolia, with its smooth trunk, graceful evergreen leaves, and elegant shape has a calming presence. It has long and narrow leaves with pointed tips like bamboo leaves. When young, these leaves are a rich purplish-red, very striking against the green of the older foliage. Trees develop a dense canopy with twisting branches. And if you like elephants, you’ll be glad to know these medium-sized trees have trunks that look like elephant legs.
This oak's specific epithet is ‘myrsinifolia’ - it is said to resemble a myrtle tree. A native of Southern China, Japan and Laos, the species was introduced from China by Robert Fortune in 1854. It is one of the hardier evergreen oaks and flourishes in our Pacific Northwest climate. You can admire our one and only bamboo-leaf oak in the Fern Dell - planted in bed 130D in 1994.
Text and photos by Hughie Jones.