Gambel's Oak - Quercus gambelii
A small oak that often forms thickets, Gambel's Oak is a tree of the southwestern mountains, growing to elevations of nearly 10,000 feet in the Rockies where it is the most common oak. Brightly colored in autumn, the leaves are divided into 7-11 lobes, and widest above the middle. The acorns are enclosed in a deep cup and are an important food source for wildlife. Cattle graze on the shrubs. This oak can spread from underground runners and grows well on rocky substrates. Gambel's Oak is named for a nineteenth century American naturalist.