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Oak Woodland

Oak woodland is found on north-facing slopes and flats, often surrounded by coastal sage scrub. It was probably more common in the western developed part of campus before it was converted to agriculture; a single large specimen oak tree still lives between Building 2 and Building 7. Oak woodlands are scattered in small patches among the coastal sage scrub, primarily in north-facing canyons. Because these canyons get little direct sunlight, they tend to be cooler and wetter than surrounding areas. In areas closer to the coast, oak woodlands are more continuous.

The dominant species is the coast live oak, Quercus agrifolia. Associated species, toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) and wild cucumber (Marah macrocarpa) also occur in coastal sage scrub. The understory of the oaks is primarily chickweed (Stellaria media) and miner's lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata).

Few plants grow in the deep shade of the evergreen oaks, but the clearings support most of the same species found in coastal sage scrub. These oaks are very fire-resistant, and none were killed in either the 1981 or the 1989 fires. The slow-growing oaks are probably the oldest trees on campus.