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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.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes north to Indian River and Manatee counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

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.

References: Schaefer & Tanner 1997

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


Other data on Quercus pumila available from:



 
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