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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Quercus falcata Michx.
Southern red oak, Spanish oak
Synonym(s): Quercus falcata var. triloba, Quercus triloba
USDA Symbol: QUFA
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Southern red oak is a medium-sized, straight-trunked oak which, in time, develops long, spreading branches, giving the top an even, well-formed appearance. Its smooth gray bark becomes dark and furrowed, eventually becoming black. Thin, papery, lobed, bristle-tipped deciduous leaves turn reddish-brown in fall. Twigs pubescent reddish-brown twig with star shaped pith; reddish-brown terminal bud is ovoid and pubescent. Leaf petiole 3/4 - 2 3/8 inches (19 - 60 mm) in length, smooth to sparsely pubescent; leaves are elliptical to ovate, 4 - 11 3/4 inches (101 - 298 mm) long and 2 3/8 - 6 1/4 inches (60 - 159 mm) wide, u-shaped base, margin has 3 - 7 deeply divided lobes with 1 - 3 bristle-tipped teeth, apex longer than lateral lobes; upper surface a glossy green often with some pubescence along midrib, lower surface covered with gray or tawny pubescence, secondary veins raised on both surfaces.
Often called Spanish Oak, possibly because it commonly occurs in areas of the early Spanish colonies. It is unlike any oaks native to Spain. The lumber is marketed as Red Oak. Cherrybark Oak (Q. pagoda Raf.) is sometimes considered a variety of Q. falcata (Q. falcata var. pagodifolia Ell). The lobes of its leaves taper to points that remind some people of the graduated roofs of pagodas. The leaves have 5-11 broad shallow lobes and whitish hairs beneath, and the bark is smooth and cherry-like with short ridges.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Elliptic
, Ovate Leaf Venation: Pinnate Leaf Margin:
Lobed Breeding System:
, Monoecious Inflorescence: Catkin Fruit Type: Nut Size Notes:
Moderately fast growing, medium to large tree,
which grows to 150 feet (45.7 m). Leaf:
Upper surface a glossy green often with some pubescence along midrib,
lower surface covered with gray or tawny pubescence. Autumn Foliage:
Acorns biennial; thin, reddish-brown cup with pubescent
inner and outer surface, usually covers up to 1/3 of the nut; rounded, brown nut,
3/8 - 5/8 inch (9 - 16 mm) long, may be striated at the tip with pubescence. Maximum potential height is 70 ft., alth Size Class:
More than 100 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
, WV Native Distribution:
Occurs from New Jersey and Florida west to Oklahoma and Texas. Native Habitat:
Dry upland sites of sandy or clay loam throughout the southeastern United States.
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Dry CaCO3 Tolerance:
Medium Cold Tolerant:
Sandy, loamy or clay soils. Acid-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam Conditions Comments:
Southern red oak can subsist on some of the most abused, degraded soils found anywhere in the South. In
these conditions, however, the tree
develops a weather-beaten, unkempt appearance. The tree
grows relatively quickly, for an oak, and is long-lived.
Fall conspicuous, Long-living, Fast growing Use Wildlife:
Substrate-insectivorous birds, Nesting site, Fruit-birds, mammals, rodents, deer. Cover. Use Other:
Southern red oak lumber is marketed as red oak for construction and furniture. Attracts:
Butterflies Larval Host:
Banded hairstreak, White M hairstreak.
Oaks are most often propagated from seed. Stratify seeds. Plant outdoors or in deep containers to accomodate long initial taproot. Many oaks require cold temperatures to initiate shoot
development. Protect outdoor beds with wire mesh to deter rodent p Seed Collection:
Best quality acorns are picked or shaken from the tree. Collect when color has changed to brown. Best if sown immediately as acorns lose viability quickly in storage. Short-term storage in moist, shaded saw dust or sand. Acorns to be sown immediately can be soaked in hot water for 15 min. to prevent weevil infestation. Stored seed should be fumigated with methyl bromide. Seed Treatment:
Stratify seeds in moist sand or potting soil for 30-60 days at 32-38 degrees. Commercially Avail:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
American Native Nursery
- Quakertown, PA
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-06
Research By: TWC Staff