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Quercus laevis Walt.

Modern name

Quercus laevis Walter


Q. catesbaei Michx.

A deciduous tree usually 20 to 30 ft, but occasionally twice as much high, with a narrow, round-topped head of more or less contorted branches; winter-buds coated towards the point with rust-coloured down; young shoots reddish, soon becoming nearly glabrous. Leaves of the typical ‘red’ oak shape, being obovate to triangular in main outline, wedge-shaped at the base, but very deeply cut into three, five, or seven lobes which reach to within 12 in. of the midrib; the lobes vary from roughly rectangular to roughly triangular and are themselves toothed, each having a long bristly tip, 4 to 8 in. long, rather less wide; both surfaces are shining green at maturity and quite glabrous except for tufts of reddish down in the axils of the veins; stalk 14 to 34 in. long. Fruits usually solitary on a very short stalk; acorns egg-shaped to roundish oval, 34 in. long, with a ring of white scurf surrounding the conspicuous mucro at the summit; cup thin, enclosing one-third of the acorn, its scales extending down one-third of the inner surface as well as over the entire outer one.

Native of the S.E. United States; introduced in 1823, but now, and perhaps always, very rare in cultivation. Loudon, writing of the tree in 1837, did not know of any tree near London. Certainly it is far from thriving as well as most of the ‘red’ oaks. Plants at Kew only reached about 8 ft in height in fifteen years. According to Sargent the leaves are sometimes 12 in. long by 10 in. wide. It is distinct among the ‘red’ oaks by reason of its very short leaf-stalks. The leaves turn reddish brown before falling.



Other species in the genus