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Quercus hemisphaerica

Quercus hemisphaerica W. Bartram ex Willd.

Coast Laurel Oak, Darlington Oak, Laurel Oak

Fagaceae (Beech Family)


USDA Symbol: QUHE2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A pyramidal-rounded oak to 120 ft. with Laurel oak is a short-lived, pyramidal-rounded, evergreen, medium to large tree that can grow to heights of 100 feet (30.5 m). BARK: dark brown with deep furrows producing flat ridges. Bark is smooth on branches and young trunks, low-ridged on old trunks. TWIGS and BUDS: smooth, brown to dark red twigs; reddish to purplish-brown ovoid buds, scale margins smooth or ciliated. Leaves shiny, leathery, dark-green, falling about the time new ones appear in spring. Leaves short smooth petiole up to 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) in length; leaf blade narrow ovate or elliptical, 1 1⁄8 - 4 3⁄4 inches (29 - 121 mm) long, 3⁄8 - 1 1⁄2 inches (10 - 38 mm) wide, leathery, base obtuse or rounded, margin entire or with shallow lobes near apex. Both surfaces are smooth, or rarely with minute axillary tufts or tomentum beneath.

Laurel oak is fast growing and matures in about 50 years. Used for firewood and as an urban shade tree. The largest known laurel oak grows near Wrens, Jefferson County, Georgia.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Elliptic , Ovate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Entire , Lobed
Leaf Base: Rounded
Leaf Texture: Leathery
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Inflorescence: Catkin
Fruit Type: Nut
Size Notes: Medium to large tree that can grow to heights of 100 feet (30.5 m).
Fruit: Acorns biennial; sessile; cup has fine pubescence on scales and on inner surface, covering up to 1⁄3 of nut; ovoid to hemispherical nut, dark brown to black, 1⁄2 inch (13 mm) long.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May


USA: AL , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , SC , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Coastal plain from s.e. VA to e. TX
Native Habitat: Scrub oak sandhills; dune areas; stream banks.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Not separated from Q. laurifolia by some authorities.


Use Wildlife: Acorns eaten profusely by wildlife.
Use Other: Used for firewood and as an urban shade tree.
Interesting Foliage: yes


Commercially Avail: yes

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.


Bibref 1134 - Field Guide to Native Oak Species of Eastern North America (2003) Stein, John D. and Denise Binion
Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.

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Additional resources

USDA: Find Quercus hemisphaerica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Quercus hemisphaerica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Quercus hemisphaerica


Record Modified: 2015-11-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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