Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Laurel Oak Quercus laurifolia


enlarge +

Laurel Oak
credit: Duane Burdick/CCSA

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Alternate name: Diamond-leaf Oak

Family: Fagaceae, Beech view all from this family

Description Quercus laurifolia (Swamp laurel oak, Diamond-leaf oak, Water oak, Obtusa oak, Laurel oak) is a medium sized deciduous or semi-evergreen oak in the red oak section Quercus sect. Lobatae. It is native to the southeast of the United States, from coastal Virginia to central Florida and west to southeast Texas.

Quercus laurifolia grows to 65-80 feet (20-25 m) (rarely to 130 feet (40 m)) tall, with a large, circular crown. The leaves are broad lanceolate, 1-5 in (3-12 cm) long and 0.5-1.75 in (1.5-4.5 cm) broad, and unlobed (very rarely three-lobed) with an entire margin and a bristle tip; they typically fall just as the new leaves start to emerge in spring. The acorns, borne in a shallow cup, are hemispherical, 0.35-0.5 in (9-12 mm) long, green, maturing blackish-brown about 18 months after pollination. Despite their bitter kernel, they are eaten by deer, squirrels and birds. Acorn production is often heavy, enhancing the species' value for wildlife.

Swamp laurel oak is found mostly on alluvial flood plains, from sea level up to 150 m altitude. It will tolerate the wetter sites in association with other oak species but will not live with continuous or prolonged flooding. It is most often found growing in sandy soil near rivers and along the edges of swamps if not too frequently flooded. Swamp laurel oak grows in the hammocks of central Florida and on sand hills adjacent to swamps in west Florida.

Swamp laurel oak grows rapidly and usually matures in about 50 years which has led to its wide use as an ornamental. It is host to the general oak-feeding insects but has no serious insect problems. Several species of Curculio weevils infest the acorns.

Habitat Swamps (fresh & salt), Watersides (fresh).

Range Southeast, Texas, Florida, Mid-Atlantic.