post oak
Quercus stellata Wangenh.
  • LEAVES: deciduous, alternate, simple; leaves up to ca. 6” long by 4” wide; laterally lobed with the upper lateral lobes most pronounced, opposite and with the terminal lobe, resembling a cross, lateral lobes squarrish; leaves pubescent beneath with stellate hairs
  • FLOWER: unisexual, plants monoecious, male flowers in catkins, female flowers born singly or several in short axillary spikes
  • FRUIT: acorn ca. 3/4” long; cupule bowl-shaped and covering ca. 1/3 of aco
  • TWIGS: twigs of the season usually abundantly covered in tawny stellate hairs, older twigs dark gray to blackish due to old shriveled persistent hairs; buds 1/8”, subglobose, scales brown and ciliate, faces of scales usually with some stellate hairs
  • BARK: bark gray, with shallow furrows and flaky ridges (a member of the white oak group)
  • FORM: medium-sized tree to ca. 40-50’ tall and 12-24” dbh
  • HABITAT: dry pine and mixed hardwood-pine woodlands on sandy or clayey soil; often notably abundant on upland calcareous clays; rarely in mesic hardwood flatwoods
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Obligate Upland (UPL): Almost never occurs in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: Texas to Kansas, eastward to Atlantic Coast and south to central Florida [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: not a preferred timber species, used for railroad ties, mine timbers, flooring, siding, construction timber, cabinets, furniture, fence posts, barrels
  • WILDLIFE: cavities provide nest and den sites, acorns are important (but not always reliable) hard mast for deer, turkey, squirrels, and other mammals; tannins in leaves mildly toxic to sheep, goats, cattle
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. upper lateral lobes largest, forming a cross shape with the terminal lobe
    2. a white oak found (usually) on a dry infertile site
    NOTES:   NOTES: Quercus similis Ashe (delta post oak) is found on poorly drained and relatively fertile hardwood flatwoods on loamy or clayey soils. Morphologically, leaves of Q. similis lack the pronounced upper lateral lobes found in Q. stellata; the leaves of Q. similis are often three-lobed (two lateral lobes and one terminal lobe). Quercus margaretta (Ashe) Small (sand post oak) is a shrub to small tree exclusively of xeric sandy soils (ecologically overlapping with Q. stellata); the leaves are smaller and velvety pubescent beneath, and the twigs of the season are glabrous rather than densely stellate pubescent as in Q. stellata.