Tan Oak - Lithocarpus densiflorus

Has anyone used Tan Oak for bonsai? I picked up some seed on my way back from the Pacific Bonsai Expo in 2019 along the Mendicino, CA coast and just repotted 13 of the seedlings. They are not an oak (Quercus), but look like a smooth leafed live oak and the seed looks like a 1" (2.5 cm) long acorn.

The seedlings go to 8-12" (20-30 cm) tall in their first year and had some nice fiberous roots when I repotted this year. They were in the end of my greenhouse that froze (27F, -3C) during a cold snap this winter due to my not setting up the air circulation correctly and I had some die back, but they survived.


Sorry no experience, never heard of them. Do you happen have any pictures of them to share?

Here is a photo of some of the seedlings. The leaves have some obvious ridges along the edge (but are not spikey like some of the live oaks) and are about 3" long.

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I live on the Mendocino Coast and collect native species. However, I do not collect tan oaks and haven’t seen one as a bonsai since the leaves are too large.

Thanks for the feedback. I’ll see how well they reduce once the trees get a little size. I agree that the nominal 3-5" leaves are too big for a small bonsai, even if they reduce by 1/2.