Laurel Oak
Quercus laurifolia Michx.

Laurel Oak: Full Size

Also known as Darlington Oak or Diamond-Leaf Oak.

Mature Size: 60 feet in height and 1 to 3 feet in diameter.

Form: Straight trunk and dense, rounded crown.

Habitat: Moist woodlands and sandy soil near rivers and swamp edges.

Leaves

Alternate, simple, semi-evergreen, oblong, 3 to 5 inches long, widest near the middle, with smooth edges.

Flowers

Males yellow-green, in 1½ to 3 inch hanging catkins; females green to reddish, in small spikes; both appearing with the new leaves in spring.

Fruit

½ to 2/3 inch acorn, nearly round, dark brown and striped; reddish-brown cap usually shallow but may cover up to . of acorn; acorns mature in two seasons.

Bark

Dark brown and smooth on young trees, later developing shallow fissures with flat, rough ridges.

Twigs

Slender, light reddish brown, hairless; buds sharp-pointed, reddish brown, clustered at twig ends.

Values and Uses

The wood is heavy and hard but does not make good lumber. It is used occasionally for fuel and pulpwood. Laurel oak is a heavy acorn producer, making it a reliable food source for many birds and mammals. The tree is also planted as an ornamental.

Did You Know?

Laurel oak has several forms with slightly different leaves. There is debate about whether these forms are all one species, as well as whether laurel oak itself is a hybrid.