Running oak
Quercus pumila

Landscape Uses:

Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also an accent shrub or small tree.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

A frequent but somewhat uncommon understory shrub in pine rocklands, mesic flatwoods and scrubby flatwoods.
Grown by enthusiasts and occasionally by native plant nurseries.
Medium woody shrub or rarely a small tree, usually with underground stems but occasionally with an erect trunk. Leaves are pale green above and densely covered with gray or brown hairs below, about 2-4 inches long.
Typically 3-6 feet in height in South Florida; occasionally to 20 feet in Florida. Usually broader than tall.
Growth Rate:
Southeastern United States south to Miami-Dade and Collier counties.
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, without humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements:
Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun.
Flower Color:
Flower Characteristics:
Inconspicuous. Pollination is by wind.
Flowering Season:
Early spring, before the emergence of new leaves.
Brown acorn about 1/2" long, maturing in the second season. Edible.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides significant food and cover for wildlife. Larval host plant for red-banded hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops) and white-M hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album) butterflies; possible larval host for Horace's duskywing (Erynnis horatius), Juvenal's duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis) and oak hairstreak (Fixsenia favonius) butterflies. The acorns are utilized by squirrels.
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from seed.
This dwarf oak makes an excellent woody groundcover and deserves more attention in the native plant trade.

Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton