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Shumard Oak Quercus shumardii


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Shumard Oak
credit: Neonfreon

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Family: Fagaceae, Beech view all from this family

Description Also called Spotted Oak, Schneck Oak, Shumard Red Oak, or Swamp Red Oak, this member of the red oak group (Quercus section Lobatae) is native to the Atlantic Coastal Plain primarily from North Carolina to northern Florida and west to central Texas. It is also found north in the Mississippi River Valley to central Oklahoma, eastern Kansas, Missouri, southern Illinois, Indiana, western and southern Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. It is found locally north to southern Michigan, southern Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the extreme south of Ontario, Canada.

Mature Shumard Oak typically reach heights of 25 to 35 meters (82 to 115 ft), trunk diameter is typically 60 to 100 centimeters (24 to 39 in), and crown width typically reaches 12 to 18 meters (39 to 59 ft) in width. Typical size varies according to region, with larger specimens occurring in the southern portions of its native range in the United States. Record Shumard Oaks have been measured at up to 42 meters (138 ft) tall, with crowns up to 27.5 meters (90 ft) in width. Young specimens generally exhibit conic or ovate crowns, with the upper crown filling in as the tree reaches maturity. Trunks are relatively straight and vertical.

The young bark of the Shumard Oak is light grey, very smooth, and very reflective. Shumard Oak bark darkens and develops ridges and furrows as it ages. There are occasionally white splotches on the bark.

Shumard Oak twigs terminate in a cluster of buds. The buds are lighter in color than the olive-green twigs. The young twig is highly reflective.

The leaves are arranged alternately and are broadly obovate with 5–9 lobes, each of which are terminated by bristle tipped teeth. The leaves mature to between 10 to 21 centimeters (4 to 8 in) in length. The surfaces are glabrous, except for the tufted vein axils. They are dark green on the top, while the bottom is a slightly lighter shade of green. The leaves turn brown to red in the fall, and sometime have hues of yellow mixed in. Fall colors are relatively late; specimens in central Texas may be at their most red in early December, while Florida specimens may not color substantially until February.

Shumard Oak bears relatively large acorns, which typically reach up to 3 centimeters (1 in) in diameter. Acorns take between 1.5 to 3 years to fully mature, and may go unnoticed during their early stages of development.

The acorns of the Shumard Oak provide food for various songbirds, game birds such as wild turkey and quail, waterfowl, white-tail deer, feral hogs, and various rodents such as squirrels. The leaves and twigs can also provide browse for white-tail deer.

Habitat Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Watersides (fresh).

Range Plains, Mid-Atlantic, Texas, Southeast, Florida, Great Lakes.