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Quercus stellata is often confused with:
Quercus margarettae Form
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Quercus falcata Form
Quercus coccinea Fall color
Quercus pagoda Form

Quercus stellata

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
KWER-kus stell-AY-tuh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Post Oak is a deciduous tree that may grow 40 to 50 feet tall and is common in the poorer soils of the Piedmont but is also found in the mountains to an elevation of 2,500 feet. It is native to central and eastern USA. It has a dense rounded form with the upper branches and stems often being twisted and gnarled.

The tree has alternate leaves with 5 lobes and a hairy, pale underside. The two middle lobes are distinctly square, resulting in an overall cruciform appearance. The bark is scaly in younger trees but becomes ridged with horizontal cross-breaks that are characteristic of this tree. In spring, yellow-green, cylindrical, male flowers and reddish, female spikes mature. The tree produces a 1/2- to 2/3-inch acorn with a warty cap that covers about 1/3 to 1/2 the nut. The acorn requires one growing season to reach maturity.

Post Oak is tolerant of various soil types and prefers acidic well-drained soil in full sun. It is resistant to drought, fire and diseases. Use in the lawn as a shade tree, in naturalized areas or as a street tree. 

No pests or diseases of major concern but the tree occasionally succumbs to Chestnut blight and is susceptible to oak wilt.

Quick ID Hints:

  • leaves alternate, simple, 4-8" long, 3-4" wide
  • 3 prominent lobes at apex
  • 2-3 broad leaf pairs, middle pair largest
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#deciduous#shade tree#drought tolerant#shrub#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#small mammals#disease resistant#food source#low flammability#NC native#black bears#wild turkeys#deer resistant#woodpeckers#blue jays#acorns#nighttime garden#fire resistant#oak tree#Braham Arboretum#fantz#poor soils tolerant#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#piedmont mountains UPL#coastal UPL#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#problem for horses#audubon#moth larva#banded hairstreak butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#imperial moth#juvenal’s duskywing butterfly#edward’s hairstreak butterfly#white-m hairstreak butterfly#horace’s duskywing butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#deciduous#shade tree#drought tolerant#shrub#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#small mammals#disease resistant#food source#low flammability#NC native#black bears#wild turkeys#deer resistant#woodpeckers#blue jays#acorns#nighttime garden#fire resistant#oak tree#Braham Arboretum#fantz#poor soils tolerant#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#piedmont mountains UPL#coastal UPL#bird friendly#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#butterfly friendly#pollinator garden#problem for horses#audubon#moth larva#banded hairstreak butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#imperial moth#juvenal’s duskywing butterfly#edward’s hairstreak butterfly#white-m hairstreak butterfly#horace’s duskywing butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Quercus
    Species:
    stellata
    Family:
    Fagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Wood is marketed as White Oak and used for construction timbers, posts and railroad cross-ties.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and Eastern United States
    Distribution:
    AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV. Eastern and central United States: Massachusetts and New York south to Florida, and west to Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Oak trees support a wide variety of Lepidopteran. You may see Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis) larvae which have one brood per season and appear from April-October in the south. Adult Imperial Moths do not feed. Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus), which have one flight from June-August everywhere but Florida where they emerge April-May. Edward's Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii), has one flight from May-July in the south and June-July in the north. Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), has three to four flights in the south from February-November and two flights in the north from May-September. White-M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album) has three broods in the north from February-October. Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) has three broods in Texas and the deep south from January-November, and two broods in the north from April-September. Juvenal’s Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis) has one brood from April-June, appearing as early as January in Florida. The acorns are eaten by woodpeckers, blue jays, small mammals, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and black bear.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    resistant to fire and mildly resistant to damage by deer.
    Edibility:
    Acorns are edible once the tannins have been leached or boiled out.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 35 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Irregular
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The brown, egg-shaped acorns are produced either solitary or in pairs and are either sessile or short-stalked. They are 1/2 to 3/4 inch long with caps extending to about one-third of the length of the acorn. The caps have small appressed scales that are light gray or light tan. Acorns are reddish-brown and ½ inch to 1 inch long. Displays from September to November.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Male flowers occur in drooping yellowish catkins. Female flowers are shorter and occur near the tips of twigs. Also male green catkin. Blooms in April
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Insignificant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leathery green leaves are 3 to 8 inches long with wavy to deeply lobed margins with pinnate and reticulated venation. The lobes are rounded and up to 4 on each side with the upper pair often much larger than the others giving it a maltese cross shape. Fall color varies from non-showy brown to yellow and leaves may persist into winter.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Scaly
    Bark Description:
    The bark is scaly in younger trees. Mature trees with gray to brownish-gray, rough-textured, and ridged with horizontal cross-breaks
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Branch bark and larger twigs are gray and more smooth, while smaller twigs and young shoots are pale brown and densely short-pubescent.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Diseases
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Fire
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Stomach pain, constipation and later bloody diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination if young leaves or raw acorns eaten.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Gallotannins, quercitrin, and quercitin.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Leaves