Federal and State Listed Species of Texas:
Earth fruit is known from Anderson, Gregg, Harrison and Panola counties in Texas, and in the neighboring states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri.
Hinckley’s oak is an evergreen shrub (to 1 m tall), which forms thick stands with its interwoven, intricate branches. Although twigs and leaves emerge red, they mature to a light brown and blue-green, respectively. Twigs have microscopic, star-shaped hairs, and twigs and leaves are covered with a whitish, wax-like coating. Mostly round in outline, the leaves are 0.5-1.5 cm long and wide, leathery, waxy, and hairless. Leaf edges have four to six spine-tipped teeth. Clusters of male flowers hang downward from a sparsely hair-covered 3-5 mm long stalk while the female flowers occur singly almost directly on the stem. The saucer-shaped acorn caps are 1-3 mm tall and 10-15 mm wide, only enclosing the base of the nut. The egg-shaped nuts are 10-20 mm long and 8-12 mm wide, and hairless.
Hinckley’s oak can usually be identified by its shrubby stature, very small, round, hairless leaves, and the four to six spine-tipped leaf edges. However, Hinckley’s oak’s range overlaps with the more common pungent oak (Quercus pungens). Pungent oak is generally taller (1-2+ m), and has dense star-shaped hairs on the lower leaf surface. Also, pungent oak’s oval leaves are larger (1-4 cm long and 1-2 cm wide), and the leaf edges are wavy with spine-tipped lobes or sharp tooth-like projections.
Hinckley’s oak occurs in Chihuahuan desert shrublands on rocky slopes at low to moderate elevations.
Life Cycle Events
Flowering occurs in the spring. Acorns are produced every year and mature in August and September.
Hinckley’s oak can be recognized year-round.