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Running oak
Quercus pumila
Fagaceae
 

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

General 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.

Availability: Grown by enthusiasts and occasionally by native plant nurseries.

Description: 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.

Dimensions: Typically 3-6 feet in height in South Florida; occasionally to 20 feet in Florida. Usually broader than tall.

Growth Rate: Slow.

Range: Southeastern United States south to Miami-Dade and Collier counties.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Pinelands.

Soils: 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: Green.

Flower Characteristics: Inconspicuous. Pollination is by wind.

Flowering Season: Early spring, before the emergence of new leaves.

Fruit: 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.

Comments: This dwarf oak makes an excellent woody groundcover and deserves more attention in the native plant trade.


Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton


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