Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

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

Live Oak (White Oak)
Quercus virginiana
Fagaceae

Leaves are simple, alternate, leathery and evergreen with a sharp bristle tip on the apex and an occasional sharp tooth on the margin. Bark is thick, red-brown to brown-black, and grooved. Twigs are gray and pubescent, often with Spanish moss drooping from the limbs. Buds are round, and light brown. Fruit is an acorn 1 inch long with a dark brown shiny nut and a long-stalked, thin, bowl-shaped cap, maturing in one season. Form is up to 23 m (75 ft) in height; open-grown trees with a short and heavy trunk. The crown of very old trees may span over 40 m and branches may rest on the ground. Live oak is found in the southeastern Coastal Plain on sandy and often wet sites. The wood was once used for building ships. Often planted as ornamental. Acorns eaten by game birds, deer, and many small mammals.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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