Quercus laurifolia

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Laurel Oak, Swamp Laurel Oak


Plant Specifics

Size:60-100 ft tall by 40--80 ft wide
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:NA
Fruit Color:Brown
Phenology:Deciduous. Blooms early spring (wind pollinated, inconspicuous flowers). Acorns ripen in 2nd fall.
Noted for:-


Recommended Uses:Often grown as a specimen tree, fast growing.
Considerations:Somewhat weak, and compared to live oak, short-lived.
Propagation:Seed, small plants. Readily available as a containerized sapling.
Availability:Big box stores, Friends, Native nurseries, FNPS plant sales, Seed
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade,  Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Stays Wet ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry)
Moisture Tolerance: Stays Wet ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray
Soil or other substrate:Clay, Loam, Organic material (muck), Sand
Soil pH:Adaptable



Produces acorns that are used by rodents, including squirrels, and other mammals

Acorns used by woodpeckers, jays, and wild turkeys.

High in tannins.

Used for cover and nesting by a variety of bird species


Larval host for Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) and White M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album).

Larval host for several moth species (some of the caterpillars are not appreciated)

Native Habitats:River floodplains, secondary woods.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


General Comments:

Depending on who you ask, there are two laurel oaks in Florida.  Q. laurifolia (swamp laurel oak) and Q. hemisphaerica (Darlington oak, sand laurel oak). 

The taxonomists don't agree, and it appears that the two are distinctively different in north Florida but very much alike in southern and south Florida.

They are separated here because one is a wetland and floodplain plant, the other grows in dry uplands.  Some authors note that regardless of ID, they get planted without much regard for origin or drainage.