laurel oak
Quercus laurifolia Michx.
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: obtusa oak, swamp laurel oak
  • LEAVES: tardily deciduous, dropping leaves over winter or in early spring just prior to emergence of new leaves; alternate, simple; unfurling leaves bronze to purplish-red, with tufts of hairs in leaf vein axils; leaves 2-4” long by 0.8-2” wide, blades variable in shape, even within the crown of a single tree, shapes include spatulate, oblanceolate, subrhombic, or obovate; at least some leaves on a given tree will be subrhombic in shape; leaf bases generally cuneate; upper blade surfaces dark green and somewhat lustrous, lower surface duller but not significantly paler
  • FLOWER: unisexual, plants monoecious, male flowers in catkins, female flowers inconspicuous, born singly or in short few-flowered axillary spikes
  • FRUIT: acorn ovoid to oblong, nearly flattened basally, 0.4-0.8” long, tan to dark brown, pubescent with light yellowish brown hairs; cupule bowl-shaped, embracing 1/3-1/2 of the acorn
  • TWIGS: twigs of the season slender, dark brown, glabrous; buds ovoid-conic, to 0.13” long, obscurely and bluntly longitudinally angled, scales reddish brown, surfaces glabrous, tips of distal scales with a fringe of hairs
  • BARK: gray-black, tight, smoothish and sometimes with white ridges when young, becoming furrowed with age
  • FORM: large tree
  • HABITAT: small stream floodplains, baygalls, hydric flatwoods, and margins of gum ponds on old landscapes; also found in bottomland hardwood forests and on margins of cypress-tupelo swamps on young alluvial land surfaces
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative Wetland (FACW): Usually occurs in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: southeastern US [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: wood hard and heavy, used for structural lumber and railroad crossties; ornamental
  • WILDLIFE: browsed by whitetail deer, important mast species for a variety of wildlife
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. a red oak with tight dark gray-black bark
    2. at least some leaves on a given tree will be subrhombic in shape
    3. leaves thick and glossy, as to persuade one to consider the species evergreen