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Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Sand Live Oak

Quercus geminata
Family: Fagaceae

Natural History


Sand live oak is a member of the Fagaceae or Beech family. The specific epithet of "geminata" means "twins" and refers to the paired acorns of the tree.

Sand live oak is very similar to live oak (Quercus virginiana) and is considered a subspecies of live oak by some taxonomists. The leaves of sand live oak are distinctly more curled under at the margins and have obviously sunken veins on the upper surface. Sand live oak grows smaller than live oaks and is generally found on drier, more sandy sites. Sand live oak often grows in thickets of small trees in sand pine scrub.

Sand live oak is sometimes planted as a roadside ornamental tree, because of its small, compact size and attractive, dark green foliage. The wood is of limited commercial value.

Sand live oak is found in the Atlantic coastal plains from southeastern Virginia, south as far as central Florida and west into Mississippi.

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