Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Quercus palustris

Pin oak, Swamp Spanish oak

Fagaceae (Beech Family)

Quercus palustris (Pin oak)
Makin, Julie
Straight-trunked tree with spreading to horizontal branches, very slender pinlike twigs, and a broadly conical crown. Pin oak is a stongly pyramidal tree with a distinct central leader, growing 60-70 ft. or taller. Instead of the gnarled, massive qualities of most oaks, pin oak has a more graceful, slender appearance. Old trees become high-crowned after shedding lower limbs. Dark-green foliage becomes dark-red in fall. Leaves persist into winter.

Named for the many short side twigs or pinlike spurs. A popular, graceful lawn tree with regular compact form and fine-textured foliage, Pin Oak is hardy and easily transplanted because the shallow fibrous root system lacks tap roots.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 72-100 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


USA: AR , CT , DE , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , ME , MD , MA , MI , MS , MO , NE , NJ , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , WV , WI , DC
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: GA to OK, n. to MA, s. Ont., s. MI, IL, IA & e. KS
Native Habitat: Wet woods; bottomlands

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Heavy, poorly drained soils.
Conditions Comments: One of the faster growing oaks. Tolerates wet feet. Intolerant of alkaline soils. Susceptible to iron chlorosis which causes yellow coloration in the leaves through the summer months and can eventually kill the tree. Somewhat tolerant of city conditions. Pin oak is shallow-rooted and easily transplanted, and it will tolerate urban conditions in areas well outside its natural range (Kershaw).


Use Wildlife: Attracts songbirds, water birds, ground birds and mammals.
Use Other: Black ink can be made from galls formed by insects by steeping the galls in a small amount of water with some iron filings. (Hosie)
Attracts: Birds , Hummingbirds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Gray Hairstreak

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Quercus palustris is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Gray Hairstreak
(Strymon melinus)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2015-09-30