Thursday, November 17, 2016
The Turkey Oak - Quercus laevis
The Turkey Oak - Quercus laevis is most easily identified by the small stature in combination with it's twisted petioles, some leaves that are tri-lobed almost resembling a turkey footprint and dry sandy habitat. It is a small deciduous that grows in a typically upright fashion with a narrow crown. It is native to deep, well drained sandy ridges and sunny hammocks. The trees growth range is limited to only Virginia to Louisiana and Florida. The Turkey Oak covers over 9-10 million acres of land in Florida. It is very similar in appearance to the Southern Red Oak.
Image Citation: Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University, Bugwood.org
The bark is dark gray to nearly black in color with vertical ridges. The leaves are alternate and simply shaped, broadly elliptic, with 3-7 lobes each. Upper surface lustrous yellow-green, hairless, lower surface varies from pale green to a rust color. In the fall the leaves become scarlet-red or almost brown in color. Named for some of the tri-lobed leaves that resemble a Turkey foot.
Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
The Turkey Oak is not commercially grown as it is not important because of it's size, but it is close grained, hard and heavy. It is recommended for hardiness zones 6-9. The wood is considered excellent fuel and is used very widely as firewood. The bark and twigs contain valuable materials for tanning leather.