Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Laurel Oak (Red Oak)
Quercus hemisphaerica

Leaves are simple, alternate, leathery, shiny and persist over winter. Leaves are lance-shaped with a bristle-tipped apex and are usually up to 5 inches long. On young trees, leaves may be shallowly lobed or pronged. Twigs are red-brown and smooth. Buds are ovoid, smooth and red-brown. Bark is dark gray and smooth, becoming shallowly grooved with age. Fruit is an acorn 1/2 inches long with a flat-topped nut and saucer-shaped cap. The acorn matures in two seasons. Form is up to 24 m (80 ft) in height. Laurel oak is found on upland sites. Willow oak leaves are thinner, longer and often with hairs on the midrib. The wood is used as red oak lumber. Acorns eaten by game birds, deer, and many small mammals.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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