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Quercus laurifolia Michx.
Laurel oak, Swamp laurel oak, Darlington oak, diamond-leaf oak, laurel-leaf oak, water oak, obtuse oak
Synonym(s): Quercus hemisphaerica, Quercus obtusa, Quercus phellos var. laurifolia, Quercus succulenta
USDA Symbol: qula3
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
Laurel oak, a pyramidal-rounded tree, ranges in size from 40-60 ft. tall and 30-40 ft. wide. Glossy, dark-green, unlobed, long, broad, oval leaves persist into January. The bark is gray. Large, nearly evergreen tree with dense, broad, rounded crown.
GROWTH FORM: semi-evergreen
with leaves retained until the following
spring; short-lived medium tree that
grows up to 80 feet (24.4 m) with a
dense rounded crown. BARK: dark
brown, mature bark turning black with
deep furrows and broad flat ridges.
TWIGS and BUDS: smooth reddish-
brown twigs; buds are ovoid, pointed
and covered with shiny chestnut-brown
scales. LEAVES: short, smooth petiole
up to 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) long; leaf blade
broadly elliptical and thin, 1 1⁄4 - 4 3⁄4
inches (32 - 121 mm) long, 5⁄8 - 1 3⁄4 inches (16 - 44 mm) wide, base cuneate, bristle-tipped acute apex, may be irregularly 3-lobed, shiny
green upper surface and pale green below with a yellow midrib, both surfaces are smooth.
Common and Latin species names refer to the resemblance of the foliage to Grecian Laurel (Laurus nobilis L.), of the Mediterranean region. A handsome shade tree, widely planted in the Southeast. President L. B. Johnson planted one at the White House in Washington, DC.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Retention: Semi-evergreen Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Elliptic Leaf Venation: Pinnate Leaf Apex: Acute Leaf Base: Cuneate Leaf Texture:
Smooth Breeding System:
, Monoecious Inflorescence: Catkin Fruit Type: Nut Size Notes:
Grows up to 80 feet (24.4 m) with a
dense rounded crown. Leaf:
green upper surface and pale green below with a yellow midrib. Fruit:
Acorns biennial; nearly sessile,
saucer-like cup with pubescent
scales and pubescent
inner surface, enclosing up to 1⁄4 of nut; nearly round dark brown nut,
5⁄8 inch (16 mm) in length. Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
, VA Native Distribution:
Texas east to Florida and north to Virginia. Native Habitat:
Moist soils of the southeastern coastal plain and associated with typical mesic hardwoods.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: This species is closely related to Q. nigra and Q. phellos. It has no pest problems and is tolerant of a variety of soil conditions.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Swamp laurel oak is often used as an ornamental in the South.
Interesting Foliage: yes
Oaks are most often propagated from seed. No pretreatment is necessary. Plant immediately – outdoors or in deep containers to accomodate long initial taproot. Many oaks require cold temperatures to initiate shoot
development. Protect outdoor beds with 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:
Not Available 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.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
- Picayune, MS
Record Last Modified: 2011-09-27
Research By: TWC Staff