Photo Credit
Photo courtesy of Sally and Andy Wasowski, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center,

Southern live oak

Scientific name
Quercus virginiana
Also Known As
Virginia live oak
Plant Family
Willow oaks are found in much of the eastern United States and as far west as Texas and Oklahoma.They prefer stream sides and wet areas, but can also be found in upland areas. The shape of the leaves,which are long and skinny like willow-leaves, are what give this oak species its name. Willow oaks produce acorns in abundance and are an important food source for wildlife.
Identification Hints

There are several smaller evergreen oaks along the coastal plain. Southern live oak is unique in its large size, spreading branches, smooth oblong leather leaves with light colored undersides.The flowers are produced in catkins and the acorns are small and oblong with black tips.

Did You Know?

Southern live oak is considered to be one of the "noblest trees in the world and virtually an emblem of the Old South." In many parts of the south, these trees are protected for public enjoyment. The acorns of southern live oaks are an important food source for many birds and mammals. This is a very fast growing tree and is therefore are often planted for erosion control. It also has potential for use in revegetating coal mine spoils. Properly cared for, southern live oaks can survive for centuries.

The leaves are thick, leathery, shiny, and dark green on top, gray or whitish below. The leaves are elliptical shaped, not lobed like most oaks.
Small green inconspicuous flowers are produced when new leaves appear. Southern live oak has male and female flowers on the same tree. Germination occurs shortly after seed fall if the site is moist and warm.
The acorn is about 1 in (2.5 cm) long with a turban-shaped cup, and is somewhat narrowed at the base. There are approximately 352 acorns per pound.
The bark is furrowed longitudinally. The bark and twigs are dark to light grayish color and become darker with age.
Southern live oak is most commonly found on the lower coastal plain of the southeastern US from Virginia to eastern Texas.
Bloom Time
Early spring.