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Quercus stellata

  (Redirected from Post Oak)

Quercus stellata (post oak, iron oak) is a North American species of oak in the white oak section. Quercus stellata is a slow growing oak that lives in dry poor soils, and is resistant to rot, fire, and drought. Interbreeding occurs among white oaks thus many hybrid species combinations occur.

Post oak
NAS-005f Quercus stellata.png
1812 illustration[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fagales
Family: Fagaceae
Genus: Quercus
Section: Quercus
Species: Q. stellata
Binomial name
Quercus stellata
Wangenh. 1787
Quercus stellata range map 1.png
Natural range of Quercus stellata



Quercus stellata is native to the eastern and central United States, and found in all the coastal states from Massachusetts to Texas, and as far inland as Nebraska.[4] It is identifiable by the rounded cross like shape formed by the leaf lobes and hairy underside of the leaves.


Quercus stellata is a relatively small tree, typically 10–15 meters (33–50 feet) tall and trunk 30–60 cm (1–2 feet) in diameter, though occasional specimens reach 30 meters (100 feet) tall and 140 cm (56 inches or 4.7 feet) in diameter. The leaves have a very distinctive shape, with three perpendicular terminal lobes, shaped much like a Maltese Cross. They are leathery, and tomentose (densely short-hairy) beneath. The branching pattern of this tree often gives it a rugged appearance. The acorns are 1.5–2 cm (0.6-0.8 inch) long, and are mature in their first summer.[5]


The specific epithet "stellata" is Latin for "star"[6] it is named this because the trichome hairs on the bottom of the leaves, are stellate[5] or star shaped. There are several variants of Quercus stellata named by American botanist Charles Sprague Sargent. The variety most recognised by the US forest service is Q. stellata var. paludosa Sarg (Delta Post Oak)[7]


var. margarettiae (Ashe) Sarg.

var. paludosa Sarg.

var. boyntonii (Beadle) Sarg.

var. anomala Sarg.

var. attenuata Sarg.

var. araniosa Sarg.

var. palmeri Sarg.

var. parviloba Sarg.

var. rufescens Sarg.


Hybrid Name Q. stellata x <sp.>
Q. × stelloides E. J. Palmer Q . prinoides
Q. × mahloni E. J. Palmer Q . sinuata var. breviloba
Q. × pseudomargaretta Trelease Q . margaretta
Q. × sterretti Trelease Q . lyrata
Q. × macnabiana Sudworth Q . sinuata
Q. × guadalupensis Sargent Q . sinuata
Q . × fernowi Trelease Q . alba
Q. × bernardensis W. Wolf Q . montana

Similarity to Quercus albaEdit

They are both in a section of Quercus called the white oaks.[9] In the white oak section Quercus stellata is sister taxa with the Quercus alba.[10] Quercus stellata is sold and distributed as white oak. One identifiable difference between the two trees is that Q. stellata is 'hairy' on the underside of the leaf.[11]

Distribution and habitatEdit

Quercus stellata is found in southeastern America, in the coast states from Massachusetts, to Texas, and inland to Iowa. Normally found at the edge of a forest It typically grows in dry sandy areas, deficient of nutrients.[11]


Because of its ability to grow in dry sites, attractive crown, and strong horizontal branches it is used in urban forestry. It is resistant to decay so it is used for railroad ties, siding, planks, construction timbers, stair risers and treads, flooring, pulp, veneer, particle boards, fuel, and its namesake fence posts. It is used for wildlife food for deer, turkey, squirrels, and other rodents, but because the nuts contain tannin it is toxic to cattle.[7]

Fire ecologyEdit

Quercus stellata has the ability to survive fires by having thicker bark. Quercus stellata is useful for fire surveys where the tree rings are used to get a fire history of an area. A tree ring survey of 36 Quercus stellata in Illinois provided a 226-year tree ring record that indicated that many Q. stellata persisted through annual fire return intervals of 1.44 fires/years for over one hundred years.[12]

External linksEdit


  1. ^ illustration from Histoire des arbres forestiers de l'Amérique septentrionale, considérés principalement sous les rapports de leur usages dans les arts et de leur introduction dans le commerce ... Par F.s André-Michaux. Paris, L. Haussmann,1812-13. François André Michaux (book author), Pierre-Joseph Redouté (illustrator), Renard (engraver)
  2. ^ "Quercus stellata". iucnredlist. 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2017. data 
  3. ^ The Plant List, Quercus stellata Wangenh.
  4. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  5. ^ a b c "Quercus stellata in Flora of North America @". 
  6. ^ Mahoney, Kevin D. "Latin Definition for: stellatus, stellata, stellatum (ID: 35675) - Latin Dictionary and Grammar Resources - Latdict". Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
  7. ^ a b Stransky, John J. "Quercus stellata Wangenh.--post oak." Silvics of North America 2 (1990): 738-743.
  8. ^ "Tropicos - quercus stellata Search". Retrieved 2016-11-10. 
  9. ^ Nixon, KC (1993-01-01). "Infrageneric classification of Quercus (Fagaceae) and typification of sectional names" (PDF). annales des sciences forestières. 50 (Supplement): 25s–34s. doi:10.1051/forest:19930701. ISSN 0003-4312. 
  10. ^ Whittemore, A. T.; Schaal, B. A. (1991-03-15). "Interspecific gene flow in sympatric oaks" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 88 (6): 2540–2544. doi:10.1073/pnas.88.6.2540. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 51268 . PMID 11607170. 
  11. ^ a b Stein, John D., Denise Binion, and R. E. Acciavatti. "Field guide to native oak species of eastern North America." (2003): 96-97.
  12. ^ McClain, William E.; Esker, Terry L.; Edgin, Bob R.; Spyreas, Greg; Ebinger, John E. (2010-12-01). "Fire History of a Post Oak (Quercus stellata Wang.) Woodland in Hamilton County, Illinois". Castanea. 75 (4): 461–474. doi:10.2179/09-007.1. ISSN 0008-7475.