Leaf: Alternate, simple, obovate, 2 to 5 inches long (somewhat bell-shaped), 5 to 9 bristle tipped lobes with shallow sinuses, dark green above, much lighter and thickly pubescent below.
Flower: Species is monoecious; male flowers borne on 2 to 4 inch long pale reddish green catkins; reddish females borne on very short axillary spikes, appears with the leaves in mid-spring.
Fruit: Dark brown striated acorn, 1/3 to 1/2 inch long; saucer-shaped cap covers 1/3 of the nut, cap scales are tightly appressed, matures in the fall after two growing seasons.
Twig: Quite slender, with obvious tan pubescence; relatively small, reddish brown terminal buds are clustered, broadly conical, lateral buds are typically as large as the terminal bud.
Bark: Smooth, gray-brown with a few raised lenticels.
Form: A thicket-forming straggling shrub or small tree reaching up to 25 feet tall.
Looks like: black oak
Additional Range Information: Quercus ilicifolia is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. Download the full-size PDF map.
More Information: Fall Color
External Links: USDAFS FEIS Silvics - USDA Plants Database
All material © 2019 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range map source information