Quercus imbricaria Michx.
Shingle Oak, Laurel Oak
Fagaceae (Beech Family)
USDA Symbol: QUIM
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 50-65 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.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Ovate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Obtuse
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Fruit Type: Nut
Size Notes: Normally grows to about 65 feet tall, occasionally to about 100 feet tall.
Leaf: Shiny dark green above, light whitish-green with uniform pubescence below.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Acorns biennial; 1 - 2 formed on stout peduncle, cup minutely pubescent on outer surface, inner surface is 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.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , TN , VA , 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.
BenefitUse Wildlife: 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: yes
PropagationDescription: 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: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
BibliographyBibref 1134 - Field Guide to Native Oak Species of Eastern North America (2003) Stein, John D. and Denise Binion
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Quercus imbricaria in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Quercus imbricaria in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Quercus imbricaria
MetadataRecord Modified: 2022-09-21
Research By: TWC Staff