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

 Native Plant Database

Quercus texana

Nuttall Oak, Texas oak

Fagaceae (Beech Family)

Quercus texana (Nuttall oak)
Nuttall oak typically matures to about 75 feet in height and spreads about 60 feet, though some specimens can reach 140 feet with a spread of more than 100 feet. It is a deciduous oak known for its red to orange-red late-fall foliage. Its bark is grayish brown to black and furrowed with flat ridges. Similar to Pin Oak (Quercus palustris), but its acorns are more elongate. Acorns egg shaped and up to 3/4 inch long.

Not distinguished as a species until 1927, when it was named for Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859), British-American botanist and ornithologist. The foliage resembles Pin Oak (Quercus palustris). The ranges overlap in Arkansas, but Pin Oak has smaller, rounded acorns with a shallow cup. Often confused with Buckley Oak (Quercus buckleyi), which was once illegitimately called Quercus texana.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Lobed
Leaf Apex: Acute
Leaf Base: Rounded
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Catkin
Size Notes: Shrub or small tree, which grows to 50 feet.
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 36-72 ft.

Bloom Information

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


USA: AL , AR , IL , KY , LA , MS , MO , TN , TX
Native Distribution: In TX limited to extreme east.
Native Habitat: Flood plains and bottomlands

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Wet clay soils along streams.
Conditions Comments: Texas red oak is similar to the commonly grown Shumard red oak, in fact the two may cross genetically. The difference is that this species is smaller, more drought tolerant, and drops its leaves in the winter, albeit late in the season. Fall turns the leaves deep crimson. The pure form of Texas red oak is found in eastern Texas.


Use Wildlife: Deer, scrub jays, turkey and squirrels eat the acorns.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies

Last Update: 2015-11-17