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Willow Oak – Quercus phellos

Tree with conical or rounded crown of many slender branches ending in very slender, pin-like twigs with willow-like foliage.

Height: 50-80’ / Diameter: 1-3’

Leaves: 2-5” long; narrowly oblong or lance-shaped, with tiny bristle-tip; edges straight or slightly wavy. Light green and slightly shiny above, dull light green and sometimes with fine gray hairs beneath; turning pale yellow in autumn. Easily distinguishable from most other oaks by the narrow leaves without lobes or teeth. While superficially the foliage resembles that of willows, it is recognized as an oak by the acorns and the tiny bristle-tip.

Bark: dark gray, smooth, and hard; becoming blackish, rough, and fissured into irregular narrow ridges. Acorns: about ½” long and broad; nearly round, with shallow saucer-shaped cup; maturing second year. City squirrels as well as wildlife consume and spread the acorns.

Habitat: Moist alluvial soils of lowlands, chiefly flood plains or bottomlands of streams. Range: New Jersey south to NW Florida, west to E Texas.

A popular street and shade tree with fine-textured foliage, widely planted in Washintgon, D.C., and southward. Its disadvantage, however, is that it becomes too large to be grown around houses. Readily transplanted because of shallow roots.

 

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