Quercus falcata

13 Oct

Quercus falcata (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Quercus falcata (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full Sun

Flowering period: Spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 25m

Eventual Spread: 12m

Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Fagaceae

Quercus falcata is a fast growing deciduous tree with an irregular habit when young, becoming rounded as it matures. Its glossy mid to dark green leaves are deeply lobed with up to 7 lobes, an irregularly toothed and spined margin, up to 23cm long and 13cm broad. Its leaves turn red/ orange in autumn before they fall. Its branches are glabrous and red/ brown to grey as they mature. Its bark is dark brown to black with orange/ brown shallow fissures. Its monoecious inflorescence is brown and inconspicuous. Its fruit is an ovoid acorn held in a cupule, up to 1.5cm long and 1.5cm across.

Quercus falcata Leaf (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Quercus falcata Leaf (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Quercus falcata, commonly known as Southern Red Oak, Swamp Red Oak or Spanish Oak, is native to south eastern North America. In its native habitat it grows in mixed deciduous and evergreen woodlands of both upland areas and near lowland rivers and streams.

The etymological root of the binomial name Quercus is derived from the Latin name for an Oak tree, but some authorities believe it to be derived from the Celtic quer meaning ‘fine’ and cuez meaning ‘a tree’. Falcata is derived from the Latin ensis falcatus meaning ‘sickle-shaped’.

The landscape architect may find Quercus falcata useful as a deciuous specimen tree with attractive autumn colour.

Quercus falcata Bark (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Quercus falcata Bark (19/09/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Quercus falcata acorns are eaten by mammals and some birds.

Quercus falcata prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Quercus falcata requires little maintenance.

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