Quercus gambelii × macrocarpa ∙ BurGambel Oak

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Latin Name: Quercus macrocarpa × gambelii 
Common Name: BurGambel Oak
Quercus gambelii range map  +  querucs macrocarpa range map
Q. gambelii                                                                  Q. macrocarpa

Family: Fagaceae
Division: White
Native range: "Presumably these two species hybridized during a period of past sympatric association."*
Sun/Shade: sun-light shade
Height × Width: 25-40’× 25-45’
Zones: 3-8

Flower: Catkin

Leaves: Lustrous and deep green

Fruit: Produces acorns as early as four years.


Bark: deeply ridged and furrowed

Wildlife: as for the two species, birds and large and small mammals.

Disease issues: none serious

Cultural Uses:


Notes: A naturally occuring hybrid and a tough heat- and drought-tolerant tree. A cross between our beloved native Bur Oak and Gambel Oak of the southwest.

Where to find Quercus gambelii × macrocarpa in Maxwell Arboretum:
Quercus gambelii x macrocarpa location map


Do you want an oak tree but don’t think you have the room? Here’s a great option: Quercus gambellii × macrocarpa (Burgambel Oak) is a naturally occurring hybrid between our native Nebraska Bur Oak and the Gambel Oak, a small shrubby oak native to the Four Corners states. It’s tough as nails, drought tolerant, and has large Bur Oak-type leaves and produces handsome acorns when young. 25-40’ ×  25-45’

I planted our specimen in the arboretum on May 17, 1995 with a 44” truck-mounted tree spade. It’s happy and healthy.

Francis Haskins and his Q. gambelii x macrocarpa

The Maxwell Arboretum tree is dedicated to their children and grandchildren by Francis and Dorothy Haskins. Francis Haskins is a long-time supporter of the arboretum and has been a member of the Friends of Maxwell Arboretum for decades. He is Professor Emeritus of Agronomy with a distinguished career in plant breeding; having introduced numerous improved species, including many Sorghastrum nutans cultivars (Indiangrass) with improved grazing nutrition.

“Francis Haskins joined the University of Nebraska faculty in 1953 to help establish the foundation for agronomy teaching and research programs in cytogenetics (study of the structure and function of cells), quantitative genetics and biochemical genetics. Throughout his career, he taught advanced genetics, including physiological genetics, and contributed to agriculture in Nebraska and the country in various ways. He trained many students who are now respected scientists with the USDA, agriculture industry and universities across the country. In recognition of his academic leadership, Haskins was named the George Holmes Professor of Agronomy in 1967 and received numerous other awards.” (https://newsroom.unl.edu/announce/todayatunl/75/731) He retired in 1988.

I’ve known Francis for many years and he is a warm, generous, and gentle man. If you come to the Friends’ spring and fall events and see a small, dapper gentleman, that would be him. Haskins and his wife established a permanently endowed professorship fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation. It generates an annual stipend for research and program support in plant genetics. "I feel a great amount of indebtedness to the University of Nebraska. I was always so grateful for the endowed professorship awarded to me, and I wanted to give back in some way after enjoying my tenure here."

Q. gambelii x macrocarpa Haskins plaqueFrancis Haskins died in April, 2021.

* For more information on this hybrid, see Jack Maze
"Past Hybridization Between Quercus macrocarpa and Quercus gambelii."Brittonia Vol. 20, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1968), 321-333
Abstract: Introgression between two allopatric species, Quercus macrocarpa and Q. gambelii, has been observed in two separate locations: northeastern New Mexico and the Black Hills of western South Dakota and adjacent Wyoming. The probability that this introgression is the result of long-range pollination appears remote. Presumably these two species hybridized during a period of past sympatric association. Further indication of past sympatry in the Black Hills is the presence of a common species of obligate parasite, i.e., wasp (Cynips insulensis) on Q. gambelii in the Rocky Mountains and on Q. macrocarpa of the Black Hills. The hybrid oaks in New Mexico probably reflect a westward migration of Q. macrocarpa during pluvial periods of the Pleistocene. Quercus gambelii most likely reached the Black Hills during the warmer postglacial hypsithermal era. The hybridization reported here may reflect secondary sympatry, i.e., sympatric occurrence after the species, or their ancestors, became geographically separated.

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All images in Maxwell Arboretum unless otherwise noted.

Quercus alba acornFoliage and Immature Acorns,

Q. gambelii x macrocarpa acorns

Q. gambelii x macrocarpa new foliage
New foliage

Q. gambelii x macrocarpa foliage

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