Quercus ellipsoidalis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Fagales Fagaceae

Scientific Name: Quercus ellipsoidalis E.J.Hill
Common Name(s):
English Hill's Oak
Taxonomic Source(s): Trehane, P. 2007-2018. The Oak Names Checklist. Available at: (Accessed: 2 February 2016).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-02-14
Assessor(s): Wenzell, K., Kenny, L. & Jerome, D.
Reviewer(s): Oldfield, S.
Hill's Oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis) occurs fairly commonly throughout its range in the Western Great Lakes Region, somewhat scattered but abundant when present. According to recent climate change modelling, this species is projected to be highly negatively impacted by climate change, potentially losing over 50% of its suitable habitat by 2050 (Potter and Hargrove 2013, Potter et al. 2017). This passes the threshold needed to assess Q. ellipsoidalis as Endangered under A3c. However, in this case it is uncertain whether there is a linear relationship between habitat decline and population decline, as the population density and adaptive capacity of this species is unknown. Due to these uncertainties, and other assumptions inherent in climate change modelling, these habitat suitability predictions were not used to strictly apply the categories and criteria of the Red List, and Quercus ellipsoidalis is assessed as Least Concern, but could become Near Threatened as climate change impacts are realized.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Hill's Oak is found in the Upper Midwest and western Great Lakes Region of the north-central United States and into Canada. Its range spans from Minnesota and southwestern Ontario to Michigan, south to Missouri and Ohio. This species covers an extent of occurrence (EOO) of about 736,000 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Canada (Ontario); United States (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota - Possibly Extinct, Ohio, Wisconsin)
Additional data:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Lower elevation limit (metres):150
Upper elevation limit (metres):500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:While this species has a somewhat geographically restricted range, Hill's Oak is a fairly common and occasionally locally abundant tree in the Upper Midwest. Up to 300 occurrences of this species have been suggested and the population is believed to be stable.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Hill's Oak is a medium to large tree, reaching 20 m and rarely up to 40 m at maturity. Quercus ellipsoidalis grows on dry, sandy soils, though occasionally on mesic slopes and uplands. It can be found alongside species of pine, oak, hickory and aspen.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The wood of Hill's Oak is heavy and used for furniture, flooring and fuel.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Like many species in the Red Oak group, Quercus ellipsoidalis is susceptible to Oak Wilt, caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum. However, no reports of widespread decline affecting the population are currently available. Additionally a major threat to Quercus ellipsoidalis is climate change. In a study by Potter and Hargrove (2013) Quercus ellipsoidalis is projected to lose 55.55% of its suitable habitat area by 2050 under the Hadley B1 Global Circulation Model/ scenario combination. Another study by Potter et al. (2017) also used projection data along with species specific intrinsic traits to asses tree vulnerability in three areas: 1) exposure to climate change, which included projected area change by 2050 and distance to future habitat; 2) sensitivity to threat, which included rarity, area of distribution, dispersal ability, and disturbance tolerance; and 3) adaptability to threat, which included regeneration, genetic variability, and ecological requirements. Quercus ellipsoidalis was found to be a "potential persister" meaning it had high exposure to climate change pressure and low potential to adapt to that threat, but only moderate threat sensitivity.  As such, it may be able to may be able to withstand climate change in situ, because of its area of distribution, dispersal ability, and disturbance tolerance, but close monitoring will be required to verify this.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Given the wide distribution of Hill's Oak, this species is not currently a priority for conservation action, though it is cultivated as part of living ex situ collections at 72 botanic gardens.

Citation: Wenzell, K., Kenny, L. & Jerome, D. 2017. Quercus ellipsoidalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T33896A111335227. . Downloaded on 16 August 2018.
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