Quercus hemisphaerica

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Quercus hemisphaerica - Darlington Oak, Laurel-leaf Oak
Common name: Darlington Oak, Laurel-leaf Oak
Family: Fagaceae (Beech)
Distribution: SE USA to Texas
Habitat: dry, sandy sites, stable dunes, mesic and xeric hammocks, sandhills
Hardiness: -10 - 30 F
Life form: Evergreen tree
Structure: Young: pyramidal Mature: rounded
Average height: 40-60'
Bark characteristics: Gray bark becomes rigid and furrowed over time.
Fruit characteristics: Small acorns have a gray cup that covers about a third of the acorn. .5" long. Take two years to mature.
Foliage characteristics: Simple, alternate, leathery, narrowly elliptic leaves with smooth margins and a pointed tip. Top of leaf is dark green and underside is bright green. 1-5" long.
Description: One of Darlington oak’s common names is cause for some confusion. While it can go by laurel oak, there is another tree (Quercus laurifolia) that also goes by the name laurel oak. There has even been disagreement over the scientific names of these two trees. The main way to tell them apart is through growing region. Darlington oak (Q. hemisphaerica) grows in upland sites, and the swamp laurel oak (Q. laurifolia) grows in wetlands. Darlington oak also has acute leaf tips and flowers two weeks later than swamp laurel oaks in the same area. Swamp laurel oaks are also harder to identify, and more easily confused with willow oak and water oak.
Darlington oak makes a lovely shade tree.
Links: EDIS UF/IFAS ExtensionNC State ExtensionUSDA Natural Resources Conservation Service


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