A large, stately tree, commonly to 50 feet tall with a short, stout trunk of 4 feet or more in diameter, dividing into several large, twisting limbs that form a low, dense crown that can spread more than 100 feet, the limbs often touching the ground in open-grown settings.
Occurs on well-drained soils in the southern coastal plain, from Virginia through the Atlantic and Gulf states and into Texas, west to the Balcones Escarpment and south to Hidalgo county. Widely planted as a landscape tree in Texas.
Simple, alternate, evergreen, thick, and leathery; oval, oblong, or elliptical in shape, 2" to 4" long and 0.5" to 2" wide; smooth, glossy, and dark green above, pale and silvery white beneath. Leaves can sometimes be toothed, especially towards the tip.
Borne in spring on the same tree, the male flowers on catkins up to 3" long, the female flowers on a peduncle 1" to 3" long in the leaf axils.
An acorn, requiring one year to mature, about 1" long and 0.5" in diameter, oblong, dark brown and shiny, set about one-half its length in a gray, downy cup that is borne on a long stem or peduncle.
Dark brown, rough, and furrowed on trunk and large branches, developing very thick, interlacing ridges and deep furrows on older trees. Some specimens have thinner, paler, scaly bark.
Very heavy, hard, strong and tough, light brown with nearly white, thin sapwood; formerly used in shipbuilding and for wagon wheel hubs. Now primarily sold as a landscape tree in the nursery trade.
Texas live oak (Quercus fusiformis) occurs north and west of the Balcones Escarpment in Central Texas and tends to be smaller and multi-trunked. Mexican blue oak (Q. oblongifolia) is a rare evergreen oak that occurs in West Texas.
Live oaks were once prized for their naturally curved limbs and trunk, used by shipbuilders in the 18th Century to fashion the ribs and planking of tall sailing ships, such as "Old Ironsides." Refitting that ship in the 1980's included specialty pieces cut from live oaks in Texas that had been killed by the oak wilt fungus.
A large forest tree to 100 feet tall and a trunk sometimes exceeding 3 feet in diameter, with an open, rounded crown of glossy foliage. A common, but highly variable species.
In East Texas, west to the Brazos River, growing on a wide range of sites from dry hills to more moist slopes and bottomlands.
Simple, alternate, highly variable, but usually 5" to 10" long and up to 5" wide, with 3 to 5 bristle-tipped lobes, the central lobe often longest; lobes typically come off the midrib at acute angles (not perpendicular) and are often limited to the upper half of the leaf. Leaf color is glossy and gray-green on top, paler gray below, with soft pubescence.
Male and female flowers borne separately in spring on the same tree; male catkins 3" to 5" long, yellowish-green, female flowers inconspicuous and borne on a short, downy stalk.
An acorn, requiring two years to mature, 0.5" long, rounded or hemispheric, set about one-third its length in a thin, saucer-shaped cup that tapers to a short stalk.
Light gray on younger trees, turning dark gray, rough, and not deeply furrowed on older trunks.
Heavy, hard, strong, coarse-grained, and valuable for lumber. The bark is rich in tannin. The tree is also desirable as a shade tree and is available in the nursery trade.
Black oak (Quercus velutina) has a larger acorn with a "fringed" cup.
Some botanists split this species into three or four varieties because it has such variable leaf shapes on different sites.
A large tree of the prairies reaching a height of 80 feet or more and a trunk diameter of 5 feet, with a short body and heavy branches that form an open, spreading crown of dark green foliage.
Occurs on limestone soils in Central Texas as far west as Tom Green county, often on rich bottomlands along streams or hillsides and banks along spring-fed rivers. Also planted widely as a landscape tree throughout Texas.
Simple, alternate, 6" to 12" long and 3" to 6" wide, with 5 to 9 highly variable lobes that lack bristle-tips; lobes are divided by at least one pair of very deep sinuses, and the upper one-third of the leaf typically has a roughly-toothed or weakly-lobed margin.
Separate male and female flowers appear in spring on the same tree. Male flowers borne on a yellowish catkin 4" to 6" long; inconspicuous female flowers reddish in color.
An acorn, requiring a single season to mature, 1" to 2" long, ovoid, set deeply in a mossy-fringed cup that gives the species its common name.
Twigs and branches are thick, developing conspicuous corky ridges after the second year; bark is light gray, rough and breaks into small, narrow flakes on young trees, then develops very thick bark with deep fissures and narrow plates.
Heavy, hard, strong, tough and durable; used for lumber, crossties, and fuelwood.
White oak (Quercus alba) is found in East Texas and has smaller acorns without a fringed cup.
Acorns are prized by wildlife and can be used to make a coarse flour.
A medium-sized oak to 40 feet tall and a trunk to 2 feet in diameter, with a broad, rounded crown.
Naturally occurring only in one known U.S. population, near the Devil's River in Val Verde county, but more common in Mexico. Now planted widely as a landscape tree.
imple, alternate, 2" to 5" long, highly variable, but often with several shallow lobes or teeth towards the tip. Leaves are thick, leathery, and semi-evergreen, with distinct raised veins on the yellowish underside. New leaves in spring are peach-colored and in colder climates the leaves are late-deciduous and turn yellow-brown.
Male and female flowers borne in spring on the same tree, the male flowers on catkins up to 4" long, the female flowers less conspicuous.
An acorn, maturing in one year, up to 1" long and enclosed one-half by the acorn cup.
Dark to light gray, developing scales and flaky plates, then shallow fissures on older trunks.
Primarily used as a landscape tree in the nursery trade, and often sold as 'Monterrey oak.'
Netleaf oak (Quercus rugosa) has similar venation on the undersides of leaves, but has obovate leaves and is restricted to high elevations in West Texas.
Only recently discovered in the U.S. (1992) as a native tree species, but widely available in commercial nurseries.
A medium or large tree reaching a height of 70 feet and a trunk to 3 feet in diameter, with a rounded crown of glossy, green foliage. It is also planted widely as a shade tree suitable for limestone soils.
Occurs from northeast Texas to Central Texas and south to the Guadalupe River, and also in the mountains of West Texas, growing on mostly limestone soils, especially at the base of bluffs and along stream courses.
Simple, alternate, oval to elliptical or oblong in shape, 4" to 6" long and 1.5" to 2" wide, leaf edge rather sharply toothed but without bristle-tips, teeth slightly recurved.
Separate male and female flowers appear in spring on the same tree. Male flowers borne on a yellowish catkin 3" to 4" long; the female flowers are less conspicuous and reddish.
An acorn, requiring just one season to mature, 0.5" to 1.25" long, light to dark brown when ripe, enclosed by one-half its length byt the bowl-shaped cup. Acorn is edible if roasted.
Light gray, breaking into short, narrow flakes on the main trunk and limbs, deeply furrowed on older trunks.
Heavy, hard, strong, durable, and taking an excellent polish; used for barrels, fencing, crossties, fuel, and occasionally for furniture.
Swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii) occurs in southeast Texas and has larger leaves with rounded teeth.
Chinkapin oak is named because of the resemblance of the leaves to the Allegheny chinquapin (Castanea pumila), a relative of American chestnut (C. dentata).
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