bluff oak Fagaceae Quercus
austrina Small symbol: QUAU
Leaf: Alternate, simple, obovate to elliptical in shape, 3 to 7 inches long; 3 to 7 rounded shallow irregular lobes that reach 1/4 to 1/2 way to the midrib, apex is rounded and the base is wedge-shaped, green to gray-green above and paler below with small stellate hairs that are restricted to the vein axils as the leaf ages; petioles 1/4 inch long.
Flower: Species is monoecious; male flowers are yellow-green, borne in naked, slender catkins, 2 to 4 inches long; female flowers are reddish green and appear as very small single spikes; appearing with the leaves in mid-spring.
Fruit: Ovoid to oblong acorn, cap is warty and bowl-shaped, covers 1/3-1/2 of the fruit; cap always detaches at maturity; matures in one growing season in the early fall.
Twig: Red-brown to somewhat gray, lenticels may become corky, hairless and often shiny; multiple terminal buds are red-brown, conical, slightly pubescent.
Bark: Whitish or ashy gray, scaly, old trees become ridged and furrowed.
Form: A small to medium-size tree to 60 feet with an oval crown.
Additional Range Information: Quercus austrina is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting bluff oak.
External Links: USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson