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Southern Red Oak Quercus falcata


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Southern Red Oak
credit: Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. 1995. Northeast wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. Northeast National Technical Center, Chester.

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Alternate name: Spanish Oak

Family: Fagaceae, Beech view all from this family

Description Quercus falcata, commonly known as the Southern Red Oak or Spanish Oak, is a tree in the red oak section (Lobatae) of the genus Quercus native to the southeastern United States.

It occurs on dry or sandy upland sites from southern New York (Long Island) south to central Florida and west to southern Missouri and eastern Texas. Along the northeastern portion of its range the species is relatively rare and found almost exclusively along the coast; while its highest prevalence is throughout the piedmont region.

It is a medium sized deciduous tree reaching 25–30 m tall, rarely 35–38 m (forest grown specimens on highly productive sites), with a trunk up to 11⁄2 meters in diameter, the crown with a broad, round-topped head. The leaves are 10–30 cm long and 6–16 cm wide, with 3 to 5 sharply pointed, often curved, bristle-tipped lobes, the central lobe long and narrow; the small number of long, narrow lobes is diagnostic, readily distinguishing Southern Red Oak from other red oaks. The base of the leaf is distinctly rounded into an inverted bell shape and often lopsided. They are dark green and shiny above, and rusty and hairy below, particularly along the midrib and veins. The seed is a short acorn 9–16 mm long, bright orange-brown, enclosed for one-third to half of its length in a flat cup. The acorn matures at the end of its second season. The bark is dark brownish gray with narrow, shallow ridges.

Southern Red Oak has been reported to form occasional hybrids with several other red oaks in the region.

Habitat Canyons & valleys.

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