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Quercus imbricaria Michx.
Shingle oak, Laurel oak
USDA Symbol: QUIM
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
A handsome tree with a symmetrical, conical to rounded crown. Pyramidal in youth, shingle oak assumes a broad/rounded outline in old age. The deciduous oak is usually 50-60 ft. tall, but can grow taller. Catkins appear just before or with the appearance of new leaves. Leaves are shiny and lance-shaped, lacking the deeply cut lobes of most oaks. Yellow-brown to russet-red fall foliage persists through winter. BARK: grayish-brown with shallow fissures becoming scaly ridges, pinkish inner bark. TWIGS and BUDS: twigs are smooth and brown or slightly pubescent; large terminal bud
is brown and 5-angled in cross-section,
scales are pubescent with ciliated edges.
LEAVES: smooth petiole to 3⁄4 inch (19
mm); ovate and widest near the middle,
3 1⁄8 - 8 inches (79 - 203 mm) long, 5⁄8 - 3 inches (16 - 76 mm) wide, margin entire and may be slightly wavy and turned under, base obtuse, apex obtuse and tipped with one bristle, shiny dark green above, light whitish-green with uniform pubescence below.
The Latin species name, meaning overlapping, and the common name both refer to use of the wood for shingles by the pioneers, a practice continued today. An ornamental and shade tree, it is also suitable for hedges, screens, and windbreaks.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Ovate Leaf Venation: Pinnate Leaf Margin: Entire Leaf Apex: Obtuse Breeding System:
, Monoecious Inflorescence: Catkin Fruit Type: Nut Size Notes:
Normally grows to 65 feet (19.8 m), occasionally to 105 feet (32 m). Leaf:
Shiny dark green above, light whitish-green with uniform pubescence below. Autumn Foliage:
1 - 2 formed on stout peduncle,
cup minutely pubescent
on outer surface, inner surface is
￼￼￼- 40 -
￼smooth and tan to reddish-brown, enclosing up to 1⁄2 of nut; nearly round nut,
3⁄8 - 3⁄4 inch (10 - 19 mm) long, chestnut-brown with
faint stripes, and concentric rings around apex. Size Class:
36-72 ft. , 72-100 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
, WV Native Distribution:
Iowa south to Louisiana, east to North Carolina, and north to Massachusetts. Native Habitat:
Dry to moist uplands; rich bottomlands.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Moist, rich, well-drained soil.
Conditions Comments: Transplants with less difficulty than other oaks and is considered one of the most easily grown landscape oaks. Tolerates a variety of soil moisture regimes. Tolerant of city conditions. Susceptibe to oak wilt, often with fatal consequences. Pine-oak rusts and leaf blister are two of the more serious leaf ailments.
Attracts songbirds, ground birds and mammals Use Medicinal:
The Cherokee people used the bark
of shingle oak as medication. Use Other:
The common name of this oak refers to the use of its wood as shingles by early settlers. Interesting Foliage:
Oaks are most often propagated from seed. Plant immediately – outdoors or in deep containers to accomodate long initial taproot. If storing the seed to sow in spring, it must be stratifies. Many oaks require cold temperatures to initiate shoot
developm 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 for 30-60 days at 41 degrees. Commercially Avail:
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.
Record Last Modified: 2012-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff