Description: Medium to large tree with a symmetrical, broad, round-topped crown from ascending branches. Trunk tall, often buttressed, to 3-4 feet in diameter. Bark thick, smoothish, dark gray, becoming darker and roughened with age. Leaves shiny green, yellow, pink or bright red when unfolding and becoming dark with age. Tardily deciduous, the current year's leaves remain on the tree until early spring; plants may be bare for only a few weeks before flowers and then new leaves begin to emerge.
Dimensions: Typically 30-50 feet in height in South Florida; to 102 feet in Florida. Taller than broad.
Growth Rate: Fast to moderate.
Eastern and southeastern United States west to Texas and south to Miami-Dade County and the Monroe County mainland. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website. Although scattered from Martin County south to Miami-Dade County, the gap in range shown on Little's map does not exist.
Soils: Seasonally wet to moist, moderately well-drained to poorly-drained sandy or organic soils, with humusy top layer, acid to neutral pH.
Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance: Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Drought Tolerance: Moderate to low; requires moist to wet soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.
Light Requirements: Full sun.
Flower Color: Greenish.
Flower Characteristics: Inconspicuous. Pollination is by wind.
Flowering Season: Early spring, before the emergence of new leaves.
Fruit: Short stalked 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 Horace's duskywing (Erynnis horatius), red-banded hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops) and white-M hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album) butterflies; possible larval host for Juvenal's duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis) and oak hairstreak (Fixsenia favonius). The acorns are utilized by squirrels. Dear browse the young twigs.
Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed. Grows rapidly at first.
References: Nelson 2003, Schaefer & Tanner 1997
Comments: This handsome tree grows faster than most oaks, but is also short-lived in comparison. It is best used in areas with moist sandy soils with some organic content or humusy top layer.