southern red oak
Quercus falcata

Secondary Names:

Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

A large forest tree to 100 feet tall and a trunk sometimes exceeding 3 feet in diameter, with an open, rounded crown of glossy foliage. A common, but highly variable species.

Range/Site Description:

In East Texas, west to the Brazos River, growing on a wide range of sites from dry hills to more moist slopes and bottomlands.


Simple, alternate, highly variable, but usually 5" to 10" long and up to 5" wide, with 3 to 5 bristle-tipped lobes, the central lobe often longest; lobes typically come off the midrib at acute angles (not perpendicular) and are often limited to the upper half of the leaf. Leaf color is glossy and gray-green on top, paler gray below, with soft pubescence.


Male and female flowers borne separately in spring on the same tree; male catkins 3" to 5" long, yellowish-green, female flowers inconspicuous and borne on a short, downy stalk.


An acorn, requiring two years to mature, 0.5" long, rounded or hemispheric, set about one-third its length in a thin, saucer-shaped cup that tapers to a short stalk.


Light gray on younger trees, turning dark gray, rough, and not deeply furrowed on older trunks.


Heavy, hard, strong, coarse-grained, and valuable for lumber. The bark is rich in tannin. The tree is also desirable as a shade tree and is available in the nursery trade.

Similar Species:

Black oak (Quercus velutina) has a larger acorn with a "fringed" cup.

Interesting Facts:

Some botanists split this species into three or four varieties because it has such variable leaf shapes on different sites.

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