Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Quercus phellos L.
- Family: Beech (Fagaceae)
- Flowering: April-May
- Field Marks: This oak is distinguished by its narrow, toothless, lobeless leaves, the lower
surface of the leaves hairy with silky hairs, and the smooth or nearly smooth twigs.
- Habitat: Swampy woods, bottomlands.
- Habit: Medium tree to 75 feet tall, with a trunk diameter up to 3 feet; crown narrowly round-topped; bark reddish brown, smooth at first, becoming irregularly and shallowly furrowed with age.
- Twigs: Slender, smooth, reddish brown; leaf scars alternate but crowded near the tip of the twigs, half-round, slightly elevated, with several bundle traces; buds ovoid, pointed at the tip, smooth, up to 1/8 inch long.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, narrowly lanceolate to narrowly oblong, with a bristle tip, narrowed to the base, without lobes or teeth, up to 5 inches long, up to 1 inch wide, light green and smooth on the upper surface, paler and silky-hairy on the lower surface; leaf stalks up to 1/2 inch long, smooth or slightly hairy.
- Flowers: Male and female borne separately but on the same tree, appearing as the leaves begin to unfold, minute, the male in slender, drooping spikes, the female few in a cluster.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 1.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior.
- Fruits: Acorns solitary or 2 together, with or without a short stalk, the nut more or less spherical, pale yellow-brown, enclosed less than 1/4 its length by the cup, the cup reddish brown, finely hairy.
- Notes: The wood is used in general construction. This tree is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
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