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Home > Resources > North Carolina Trees > Overcup Oak

Overcup Oak

(Quercus lyrata Walt.)

  Overcup oak, sometimes known as Swamp post oak, is only found in river bottoms and rich low grounds of the Coastal Plain but is not abundant anywhere in North Carolina. It is found inland in North Carolina from the coast to Anson, Chatham, Guilford, Orange and Nash counties.

Overcup oak leaves are 6 to 10 inches long and separated into five to nine rounded lobes by deep or shallow sinuses. The leaves vary in the shape, number and size of the lobe, but they all gradually narrow to the base, making this end of the leaf wedge-shaped.

The overcup oak acorn is 1/2 to 1 inch long with a somewhat flattened spherical shape, usually broader at the base than long, and entirely or almost entirely covered by a scaly cup (hence the common name, Overcup oak). The red-tinged gray bark is rough and flaky.

While overcup oak can grow to 60 to 80 feet in height and 2 to 3 feet in diameter, it usually will be smaller. The form and quality of the tree vary greatly throughout its range, but often it will be short and crooked. The wood is heavy, hard, strong and durable and is used for the same purposes as white oak.
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