Quercus falcata

southern red oak, spanish oak


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Attachment


Leaf Type


Leaf Shape

elliptic, obovate, ovate

Growth Form


Flower Color


Flower Month


Height (meters)

18.0 - 30.0

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Warm season

Leaf Retention


Wetland Class


Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Field Characters

Leaves: terminal lobe off-set and curved, star shaped hairs on leaf underside, generally rounded (U-shaped) bases, irregularly shaped lobes, and long, thin, curving (falcate) tips.

Animal Use

The following information applies to the genus Quercus: Animals that eat its acorns: Mallard duck, Pintail, Wood duck, Clapper rail, Animals that eat its buds and acorns: White-winged dove, Greater prairie chicken, Lesser prairie chicken, Bobwhite quail, Wild turkey. Animals that eat acorns: Common crow, Eastern crow, Red-shafted flicker, Yellow-shafted flicker, Purple grackle and/or bronzed, Blue jay, Florida blue jay, Meadowlark, White-breasted nuthatch, Yellow-bellied sapsucker (sap), Starling, Brown thrasher, Tufted titmouse, Downy woodpecker, Red-bellied woodpecker, Red-cockaded woodpecker, Red-headed woodpecker, Carolina wren, Pocket gopher, Meadow mouse, White-footed mouse, Wood rat , Rock squirrel. Animals that eat acorns, bark, and wood: Black bear, Beaver, Ring-tailed cat, Gray fox, Red fox, Muskrat, Opossum, Eastern cottontail, Raccoon, Flying squirrel, Fox squirrel, Gray squirrel, Red squirrel, Animals that eat twigs, foliage, and acorns: White-tailed deer, Peccary (Martin et al. 1951).

Natural History

The Acadians of south Louisiana called all oaks "chene" which is the old French name for that genus. Southern red oak is known as "chene rouge." The Acadian French name for an acorn is "gland" and the wood is called "cheniere" (Holmes 1990). The name "cheniere" is also used to refer old beach remnants in the coastal marsh where live oaks grow. This oak is found in moist or wet forests, river bottoms, and uplands of south Louisiana and east Texas. It ranges from New Jersey south to Alabama and west to Texas. The acorns of all oaks can be eaten when the tannic acid has been removed. The nuts can then be roasted or ground to make flour. The tannins can be leached out by placing the peeled meats in a loosely woven bag in a flowing stream or boiling in successive changes of water. The tannic acid derived in this manner, or from oak bark, can be used medicinally to treat sores and wounds (Chase 1965).


Dry or sandy soil.

Plant Uses

Wood of the oaks in the red oak group is similar to that of the white oaks. A major difference is that red oaks are extremely porous, and therefore not suitable for such uses as tight cooperage. The wood is heavy, hard, stiff, and has high shock resistance. It undergoes large shrinkage during seasoning. It is above average in all machining operations except sharpening. The heartwood is low in decay resistance. Wood of red oaks is used for flooring, slack cooperage, furniture, millwork, boxes, crates, caskets, timbers, handles, coffins, pallets, agricultural implements, boats, and woodenware. The hardness and resistance to wear of red oak, plus its beauty, make it preferred for flooring and residences. When preservative-treated, red oak is used extensively for crossties, mine timbers, and fence posts.