overcup oak
Quercus lyrata

Secondary Names:
swamp post oak

Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

A large tree of forested wetlands, to 90 feet tall and a buttressed trunk to 3 feet in diameter, with many small, crooked or drooping branches forming an open, irregular crown.

Range/Site Description:

Streambanks and poorly drained bottomlands in East Texas, west to the Navasota River valley.


Simple, alternate, 4" to 6" long, 1" to 3" wide, very narrow at the base and wider toward the tip, with 5 to 9 lobes that are pointed but not bristle-tipped. Leaf color is dark green and somewhat glossy above, whitish beneath, frequently turning deep scarlet or orange in the fall.


Separate male and female flowers on the same tree. Male flowers borne on a catkin 3" to 6" long; inconspicuous female flowers borne on a long, pubescent stalk.


An acorn, ripening in one season, rounded or somewhat flattened, 0.5" to 1" long and 1" or more across, nearly covered by the spherical cup, which is thickened at the base but gradually grows thinner and often splits towards the tip.


Gray, tinged with red, somewhat flaky and developing narrow, flattened ridges and furrows on older trunks.


Heavy, hard, strong, and durable and is used for the same purposes as white oak, including fuelwood, railroad ties, baskets, cabinets, barrels, tool handles, and furniture.

Similar Species:

Bottomland post oak (Quercus similis) is similar but has acorns only half enclosed by the cup and does not develop a strong buttressed base.

Interesting Facts:

A natural hybrid between overcup oak and live oak is called Compton's oak (Quercus x comptoniae) and has been sold in the nursery trade in southeast Texas and Louisiana.

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