Landowner Fact Sheets

live oak Quercus virginiana

Live oak is an evergreen oak occuring along the Gulf and Atlantic coastal plains. It can be a massive, wide-spreading, picturesque tree, or a mere shrub, depending on the site. Acorns are abundant and provide for wildlife. Decent growth and ease of transplanting have led to ornamental use.

range map Click to see more images.

This species is not typically regenerated; in fact, it can occasionally be a weed in coastal timber plantations. Live oak stump sprouts abundantly and is intermediate in shade tolerance, suggesting decent competitive ability with all regeneration methods.

Live oak tolerates a wide variety of moisture conditions, but is generally found on sandy coastal plains. It is tolerant of salt spray.


A medium sized tree that can grow to massive proportions. Open-grown trees develop a huge rounded crown. The largest crowns may be 150 feet across.

Timber Value
Live oak wood is heavy and strong. Currently, it is not commonly used.

Wildlife Value
Sweet acorns are said to be a favorite of many species of wildlife.
Attracts squirrels, bobwhite, scrub jays, mallards, turkeys, black bear, deer

Insects and Diseases

Fun Facts
There is some question as to whether this is a red or a white oak. The acorns mature in one season, but leaves bear bristle tips. Live oak was essential for shipbuilding in the days of wooden ships. The U. S. Navy still owns extensive live oak forests.

Latin Meaning
Quercus: Latin name / virginiana: of Virginia

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Landowner Factsheets © 2004 Virginia Tech Forestry Department, all rights reserved. Text, images, and programming by: Dr. Jeff Kirwan, Dr. John R. Seiler, John A. Peterson, Edward C. Jensen, Guy Phillips, or Andrew S. Meeks.