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Botanical Name: Quercus phellos

Common Name: Willow Oak
Origin: SE. & SC. North America
Location: CNW

Notable Feature: A medium to large, deciduous oak tree of the red oak group that is noted for its willow-like leaves and relatively fast growth rate.

Habit: Pyramidal in youth becoming dense with an oval to rounded crown at maturity.  Will normally reach 40 to 60 feet high, but in ideal situations it may reach up to 100 feet tall.

Flower: Insignificant, yellowish green flowers in separate (monoecious) male and female catkins, appearing in spring as the leaves emerge.

Fruit: Acorns, ½” long and almost as wide with a shallow cup.

Foliage: Distinguished from most other oaks by its leaves, which are shaped like willow leaves, 2 ½ to 5” long and 1” wide with smooth margins.  The bristle-tipped leaves are bright green above, paler beneath, usually hairless but sometimes downy beneath.  Leaves turn an undistinguished yellow-brown or dull gold in fall.

Bark: Gray and furrowed with scaly ridges on old trunks.

Interesting Fact: A most prolific producer of acorns – it is an important food tree for squirrels, birds, and other animals in the forest.  The tree starts acorn production around 15 years of age, earlier than many oak species.

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