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

 Native Plant Database

Quercus shumardii

Shumard oak, Shumard's oak, Shumard red oak, Southern red oak, Swamp red oak, Spotted oak

Fagaceae (Beech Family)

Quercus shumardii (Shumard oak)
Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Shumards oak is a pyraminal tree, growing 50-90 ft. and becoming more open at maturity. Bark is thick, smooth and grayish, becoming furrowed and darker gray. The columnar trunk is frequently buttressed at the base. Lower branches are chiefly horizontal. Leaves frequently turning scarlet in the fall, up to 7 inches long, with 2 to 4 pairs of pointed lobes with soft, bristlelike tips. Sinuses between the lobes reaching from 1/2 to 3/4 the distance from the tip of the lobe to the leaf midrib. Acorns almost as wide as long, 3/4 to 1 inch long when mature with a broadly rounded apex and a flat base.

A handsome shade tree, suggested as a substitute for Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea Muenchh.), though not so hardy northward. Named for Benjamin Franklin Shumard (1820-69), state geologist of Texas. Texas Oak (var. texana (Buckl.) Ashe), sometimes considered a variety found in central Texas and southern Oklahoma, is currently more often classified as a separate species, Q. buckleyi Nixon and Dorr. It has small, usually 5-lobed leaves, small acorns, and hairy red buds (instead of hairless brown). Shumard oak is what can only be called a botanists species, usually unrecognized by lumberman and layman, but an object of triumphant discovery to the botanical fraternity.

Image Gallery:

18 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Catkin
Size Notes: 50-90 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Size Class: 72-100 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MI , MS , MO , NC , OH , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: S. PA to n. FL, w. to s.e. KS & c. TX
Native Habitat: Moist, upland forests; stream banks

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: Quercus shumardii is a relatively fast-growing and adaptable oak. This species is quite drought resistant and also withstands short-term flooding. It is similar to the Texas or Spanish oak, but prefers deeper soils and tends to grow taller and straighter. Provides good fall foliage color.


Use Ornamental: Attractive, Shade tree, Fall conspicuous, Fast growing, Disease resistant
Use Wildlife: Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals, Nesting site, Cover, Substrate-insectivorous birds.
Use Food: Acorns (nuts) are edible after tannins are leached or boiled out. Gather nuts during the fall from September to October. Only gather the ripe tan-to-brown acorns, rather than the unripe green ones. remove bitterness, shell the brown, ripe acorns and remove any corky skin layers, dice the meat, and boil the chunks in water from 15 to 30 minutes until the water turns brown. Then pour off the water and repeat the process until the water clears, indicating that the tannic acid has been removed. During the last boiling, salt water can be added; then the acorns can be deep fried or mixed in a soup. Finely chopped acorn meats can be added to bread doughs and muffin batters. After the leaching process, acorn meat can be frozen. To make flour, the boiled acorn meat can be split in two and dried by slowly baking in a 200 degree oven with the door cracked to allow moisture to escape. Crush or grind and use as a thickener or a flour. Another method is to roast the fresh acorn to work well in a grinder or blender. After grinding, place the flour into a cloth bag and boil to leach out bitterness. Leached acorns, after they are roasted until brittle, can be ground and used as a marginal coffee substitute.
Warning: Acorns (seeds of nuts) and young leaves have low toxicity if eaten. Symptoms include stomach pain, constipation and later bloody diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Horaces Duskywing butterfly
Deer Resistant: No

Last Update: 2015-11-18