- Common Name(s):
- Southern red oak, Water oak
- Native Plants, Poisonous Plants, Trees
Quercus falcata, commonly called southern red oak or Spanish oak, is a medium to large deciduous oak that typically matures to 60-80’ tall. It is native from New Jersey to Florida west to southern Illinois, southern Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. It is primarily found growing in upland areas (dry often sandy hills) but is occasionally found in valleys and bottomland areas along rivers. This is an ornamentally attractive oak with a straight trunk and an open rounded crown. With age, the smooth bark becomes dark in color with broad scaly ridges separated by deep, narrow furrows. The hard strong wood is coarse-grained and used for general construction, furniture, and fuel.
Regions: Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains
Seasons of Interest:
Bloom: Early Spring Fruit/Seed/Nut: Fall
Wildlife Value: The Southern red oak is moderately resistant to damage by deer. It is a host plant for the Banded Hairstread, Edward's Hairstreak, Grey Hairstreak, White-MouM Hairstreak, Horace's Duskywing, and Juvenal's Duskywing butterflies. The acorns are eaten by woodpeckers, blue jays, white-breasted nuthatches, American crows, small mammals, wild turkey, white-tailed deer and black bear.
Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Oaks, in general, are susceptible to a large number of diseases, including chestnut blight, shoestring root rot, anthracnose, oak leaf blister, cankers, leaf spots and powdery mildew. This tree is highly susceptible to oak wilt. Potential insect pests include scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miner, galls, oak lace bugs, borers, caterpillars and nut weevils.
- 70-90 ft.
- Insignificant monoecious (having the stamens and the pistils in separate flowers on the same plant.) flowers appear in spring in male catkins (yellowish green) and in female clusters (red tinged). Fruits are small globular acorns (to 1/2” long) that have an orange hairy cap that covers less than 1/3 of the nut. Acorns appear in September-October, but require two growing seasons to mature.
- The Southern red oak is best grown in acidic, dry to medium, well-drained loams in full sun. It will tolerate some part shade. Grows well in sandy soils. Tolerates poor soils and drought. Also tolerates soils with brief flooding.
- Poison Part:
- Acorns (seeds of nuts) and young leaves.
- Poison Delivery Mode:
- Stomach pain, constipation and later bloody diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination
- Acorns (nuts) are edible after tannins are leached or boiled out. Only collect nuts from areas you know.
- Toxic Principle:
- Gallotannins, quercitrin, and quercitin.
- CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN.
- Found in:
- Forest or natural areas; landscape as ornamental and shade trees.
- 40-50 ft.
- Growth Rate:
- The leaves which are alternate and simple are typically 4-9” long and are variable on the same tree (obovate to broad oval with 3 to 9 pointed bristle-tipped lobes and rounded bases). The leaves are dark green above and pale green below. They remain on the tree late into fall with insignificant reddish brown fall color.
NCCES plant id: 2158