Quercus phellos L.
Fagaceae (Beech Family)
USDA Symbol: quph
Willow oak, a deciduous tree, can attain 100 ft. but is usually shorter in cultivation. Its straight trunk supports a cone-shaped crown which becomes round at maturity. Long, fine-textured, narrow leaves with tiny awn at apex, resembling the foliage of willows, turn from bright green in summer to yellow or russet in fall. Bark is gray to reddish brown. Nut nearly round, cup shallow.
A popular street and shade tree with fine-textured foliage, widely planted in Washington, D.C., and southward. Its disadvantage, however, is that is becomes too large to be grown around houses. Readily transplanted because of shallow roots. Easily distinguishable from most other oaks by the narrow leaves without lobes or teeth. While superficially the foliage resembles that of willows, it is recognized as an oak by the acorns and the tiny bristle-tip. City squirrels as well as wildlife consume and spread the acorns.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Light yellow or greenish brown
Size Class: 72-100 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OK , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA
Native Distribution: E. TX to n. FL, n. to s. IL & NJ
Native Habitat: Alluvial soils, moist forests, stream banks and bottomlands.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist clay or loamy, slightly acid, soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based
BenefitUse Ornamental: Fall conspicuous, popular shade tree.
Use Wildlife: Fruit-mammals, Fruit-birds, Nesting site, Cover, Substrate-insectivorous birds.
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: White M hairstreak, Horaces Duskywing.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)Quercus phellos is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
White M Hairstreak |
Learn more at BAMONA
PropagationDescription: Oaks are most often propagated from seed. Stratify or 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 wire mesh
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 30-60 days at 41 degrees.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Prevent complete soil dryness, May be pruned 12 mo. out of the year, Prune to maintain shape, Fertilize 3 times a year with lawn fertilizer 3:1:2 ratio
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
LAMTREE FARM - Warrensville, NC
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Longwood Gardens - Newark, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 766 - Dale Groom's Texas Gardening Guide (2002) Groom, D.
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Quercus phellos in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Quercus phellos in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Quercus phellos
MetadataRecord Modified: 2013-09-06
Research By: TWC Staff