Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

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

Turkey Oak (Red Oak)
Quercus laevis

Leaves are simple, alternate and deciduous with 3-7 bristle-tipped lobes. Three-lobed leaves have a turkey foot appearance. Leaves are often curved, drooping and with twisted petioles. The leaf base is tapered whereas the leaf base of southern red oak is bell-shaped. Twigs are red-brown and smooth with pubescent, angled terminal buds clustered on the ends of twigs. Bark is thick, grooved and blocky. Fruit is an acorn 1 inch long with a shaggy cap with scales that roll inward on the edge. The acorn matures in two seasons. Form is up to 15 m (50 ft) tall but usually smaller. Turkey oak is found on sandhill sites in the southeastern Coastal Plain and is intolerant of shade. The wood is used for fuel and fence posts. Acorns eaten by game birds, deer, and many small mammals.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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