Pin oak

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The Pin oak or Swamp Spanish oak (Quercus palustris) is an oak in the red oak section Quercus sect. Lobatae.

Contents

Distribution

It is native to eastern North America, mainly in the eastern United States from Connecticut west to eastern Kansas, and south to Georgia across to eastern Oklahoma; it is also native in the extreme south of Ontario, Canada. The Pin Oak is also well adapted to life in Australia (where it has been introduced) and is quite widespread across the Australian continent especially in the cooler southern States such as Victoria and New South Wales. Is also well adapted to life in Argentina especially in the Río de la Plata region.

Description

It is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 18-22 m (60-70 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 1 m (3 ft) diameter. It has an 8-14 m (25-45 ft) spread. A 10-year-old tree will be about 8 m (25 ft) tall. The crown is broad conic when young, with numerous small branches radiating out from a central leader. When older, some upper branches become quite large and the central leader is lost, while the lower branches gradually droop downwards.

The leaves are 5-16 cm long and 5-12 cm broad, lobed, with five or seven lobes. Each lobe has 5-7 bristle-tipped teeth. The sinuses are typically u-shaped and extremely deep cut. In fact, there is approximately the same amount of sinus area as actual leaf area. The leaf is mostly hairless, except for a very characteristic tuft of pale orange-brown down on the lower surface where each lobe vein joins the central vein. The acorns, borne in a shallow, thin cap, are hemispherical, 10-16 mm long and 9-15 mm broad, green maturing pale brown about 18 months after pollination. The acorn is unpalatable because the kernel is very bitter.

It is not a long-lived tree, usually living only 90 to 120 years. It is naturally a wetland tree, and develops a shallow, fibrous root system, unlike many oaks, which have a strong, deep taproot when young. It is confined to acidic soils, and does not tolerate limestone, and grows at low altitudes from sea level up to 350 m. The specific name palustris means "of swamps".

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