Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

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

Willow Oak (Red Oak)
Quercus phellos
Fagaceae

Leaves are simple, alternate, thin, deciduous, up to 5 inches long and 1 inch wide, and with yellow tufts of hair on the midrib. The leaf base and tip are somewhat tapered. Terminal buds are small, brown, smooth and pointed. Bark is gray-brown and smooth becoming shallowly fissured with age. Fruit is an acorn 1/4 to 1/2 inches long with the green-brown, saucer-like cap covering up to 1/4 of the nut, maturing in two seasons. Form is up to 36 m (120 ft) in height and 1 m (3 ft) in diameter. Willow oak is found on moist to wet sites in the eastern U.S. and is intolerant of shade. Willow oak is distinguished from laurel oak by a thinner and generally longer leaf, and often with hair on the midrib. The wood is used as red oak lumber and for fuel. Acorns eaten by game birds, deer, and many small mammals.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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