Common Trees of the North Carolina Piedmont

Stephen M. Seiberling, Alan S. Weakley, and Peter S. White

Quercus falcata Michx. Southern red oak, Spanish oak. Synonyms Quercus digitata Sudworth, Quercus falcata var. triloba (Michx.) Nutt., Quercus triloba Michx. Family Fagaceae. ITIS Taxonomic Serial Number 19277. USDA PLANTS Symbol QUFA. TROPICOS # 13100245.

Images • Branchlet with leaves. • Individual leaf 1. • Individual leaf 2. • Individual leaf 3. • Individual leaf 4. • Branchlet with buds. • Close-up of buds. • Herbarium sheet 1. • Herbarium sheet 2. • Herbarium sheet 3. • Herbarium sheet 4.

Detailed Description:

Plant habit and life style. Plants Angiosperms, monoecious, (15–)20–30(–40) m tall.

Stems. Pith continuous. Young twigs (1-year-old or less) brown or gray or reddish-brown, (1–)1.5–3.5(–4.5) mm wide, glabrate or pubescent, tomentose. Twigs (2–4 years old) glabrate. Leaf scars half-round, bundle scars numerous, stipule scars inconspicuous, stipule scars not circumferential. Bark of mature trunks flaky or furrowed or ridged.

Buds. Buds axillary or terminal, bud clusters at ends of twigs present, brown or reddish-brown, 3–8 mm long, ovoid, sharp, glabrate or pubescent, puberulent, bud scales imbricate.

Leaves. Leaves deciduous, simple, petiolate, alternate or spiral, 10–23(–30) cm long, 5–16 cm wide, elliptic or oblong or obovate or oval or ovate, leaf margins dentate, shallowly lobed or moderately lobed or deeply lobed, pinnately lobed, leaf lobes 3–9 per leaf, leaf apices acuminate or acute or apiculate, leaf bases cuneate or rounded or truncate. Leaf upper surface green, glabrous or pubescent, puberulent. Leaf lower surface gray or green or tan or white, glabrate or pubescent, tomentose. Leaf venation pinnate, upper surface venation distinctly raised. Petioles 1–6 cm long, glabrate or pubescent, tomentose. Stipules present, caducous, scarious, not circumferential.

Flowers. Flowering March or April or May. Inflorescences axillary, catkins or flowers solitary or spikes, flowers sessile. Flowers unisexual, epigynous. Perianth. Calyx radially symmetric, synsepalous. Sepals (2–)6(–8) per flower, caducous. Corolla absent. Androecium. Stamens (2–)6(–12) per flower, separate. Gynoecium. Ovaries inferior, pistils 1 per flower. Gynoecium syncarpous, 3 carpels per flower, styles 3 per pistil, placentation axile. Other floral features. Hypanthia present, involucres present.

Fruits. Fruits accessory fruits or acorns or nuts, 0.9–1.6 cm long, brown, fruit maturation 2 years.

Habitat. Habitat bottomland forests or dry-mesic upland forests or mesic upland forests or mixed forest edges or suburban plantings.

Special Diagnostic Characters. Staminate flowers in pendent catkins, pistillate flowers solitary or in few- to many-flowered spikes; pistillate flowers enclosed by a scaly involucre which develops into the acorn cup.

Cite this publication as: ‘Stephen M. Seiberling, Alan S. Weakley, and Peter S. White (2005 onwards). Common Trees of the North Carolina Piedmont: Identification, Descriptions, Illustrations, and Glossary. Version: March 7, 2006. <>’.

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