Anyone know where to find a Valley Oak trees (Q. Lobata) growing in the Los Angeles area?
I was wondering, does anyone out there know where it's possible to find groves of valley oak (quercus lobata) in the LA area? I ask because I want to gather some acorns and these are the only variety in the S. Cal area that can be picked and processed into flour without the need for leeching.
More specifically, does anyone know if there are any valley oak trees growing in the Agngles National Forest or in the Valley?
Finally, something the valley's good for! Acorns!
You'll probably need to put on your explorer's hat for this. I would tool around the west valley - Chatsworth and West Hills. The drive along Valley Circle Blvd north of Roscoe Blvd is very rural, with huge specimens lining the road. I don't know if it's the species you're looking for, but there's every likelihood. Some of the area parks, like Chatsworth Oaks and Santa Susanna State Park may also be good places to look.
To bring this back to chow relevancy, you could combine your search with a stop at Lenny's Smokehouse, in the tiny hamlet of Chatsworth Manor, right on Valley Circle.
Valley Oaks do require leeching, but not as much as other California varieties. They were favored by California Natives because they required less leeching and the acorn is large.
This resource says we have about 1,500 Valley Oaks in/around LA...so if you find them, I'd also appreciate a heads up!
You might find this useful:
Calflora: Search for Observations : Quercus lobata : www.calflora.org/cgi-bin/occform.cgi?...
Click the "View All Points (map viewer)" button on that page for a more detailed, zoomable map.
BTW, My understanding is that Valley Oaks have much lower levels of tannins than most other oaks, but exactly how much can vary with variety/subspecies and growing conditions. Some are almost tannin-free, but some may have enough tannins to cause digestive upset and risk liver damage over time due to cumulative effects. Personally, I'd proceed cautiously. :-)
The natural range of lobata extends east into the west San Fernando Valley from the Simi Hills/Santa Susanas, but not into the Angeles (405 Fwy is about the limit).
In the Santa Monicas, they are restricted to the valley slope (as opposed to the coast) and are a dominant tree in the Malibu Creek watershed. I'm not familiar with regs on State Park lands (Malibu Creek SP), or NPS lands (King Gillette Ranch) so you might want to check if you're taking more than a few handfuls (which I can't imagine would be a problem). Probably wouldn't want to take them from a botanic garden but who knows.
Haven't heard that about the need for leaching - I'd be careful and get confirmation from a local ethnobotanist/expert (not me!).