Quercus virginiana

live oak, southern live oak, coastal live oak, encino


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Attachment


Leaf Margin


Leaf Type


Leaf Shape

oblong, elliptic, oblanceolate, obovate

Growth Form


Flower Color


Flower Month

March - May

Height (meters)

12.0 - 20.0

Milky Sap








Growing Season

Warm season

Leaf Retention


Wetland Class


Wetland Coefficient of Conservatism


Prairie Coefficient of Conservatism


Field Characters

Leaf edges curled under; underside very hairy.

Cultural Information

Considered our most valuable landscape tree by horticulturalists. Acorns germinate readily when planted fresh but should be examined after collection for insect holes. Plants should be grown in deep containers.

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. The live oak is known as "chene vert." 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. Live oaks are found throughout south Louisiana and east to central Texas along the coast. Live oaks are considered to be one of our most valuable trees. They were used extensively in ship building during the age of tall ships.


Rocky woods on brushy hillsides, dry or moist soil on coastal plains.

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.