Shumard oak

Quercus shumardii
Family: Fagaceae

Natural Historyshumard oak
Leaves and acorns of Shumard oak
Photo credit: Larry Korhnak, University of Florida

The Shumard oak is one of the largest species in the southern red oak group. It can typically reaches 90-125 feet in height and  4-5 feet in diameter.  Its long bole supports a broad, open crown.  The root system is extensive and moderately shallow.   It is named for a state geologist of Texas, Benjamin Franklin Shumard (1820-69).

Habitat & Range

Shumard oaks prefer deep, moist, rich soils and are generally found bordering streams or swampy areas.
It usually occurs as an occasional tree in mixed hardwood forests.  Its range stretches from the mid-Atlantic coastal plain south to northern Florida and west to central Oklahoma and Texas and is occasionally found as far north as southern Michigan or Pennsylvania.

Wildlife Use

The fruit is an important component of the diets of numerous species of songbirds, wild turkeys, waterfowl, white-tailed deer, and various species of squirrels . White-tailed deer utilize the twigs and leaves for winter browse as well.

Human Use

The shumard oak is a fast-growing tree used widely for commercial lumber, interior trim, cabinetry and furniture.  The lumber of this wood is often mixed indiscriminately with that of other oaks, thereby losing its identity in trade.  It is also an excellent shade tree because of its broad, rounded canopy.


Identifying Characteristics

Size/Form: Shumard oak is a large tree that often grows to heights of 80' to 125'. It has a slightly buttressed trunk and broad, open crown.
Leaves: Leaves are simple, alternate, and deciduous. Leaves are 6 to 8 inches long, 4 to 5 inches wide, overall oval-shaped, with an acute apex. Leaf bases are wedge-shaped or flattened. Each leaf has from 5 to 7 rounded lobes with bristle-like tips. Leaves are dark green and smooth on the upper surface and are of paler color underneath, with scattered deposits of brownish, waxy hairs. Leaf petioles are slender, glabrous, and about 2 inches long.
Twigs: The twigs are moderately stout, glabrous, and gray-brown. The pith is star-shaped and homogeneous.
Bark: The lower bark is thick, dark and deeply furrowed, with lighter colored, scaly ridges. Bark nearer to the top of the tree is smoother in texture.
Flowers: The unisexual, monoecious are not very showy.
Fruit: The fruit is an acorn about 1" long, with striping along the sides. It is partially covered by a slightly hairy, saucer-shaped cup. They occur alone in pairs and are oblong to ovoid-shaped
Similar Trees on the Florida 4-H Forest Ecology Contest List:
There are three other trees on our list that have simple, alternate, pinnately-lobed leaves.



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