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Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Live Oak

Quercus virginiana
Family: Fagaceae

Natural History

Spreading branches of a live oak | Photo credit: Larry Korhnak, University of Florida

Live oak is the southern symbol of strength. It is the state tree of Georgia. Lining the historic streets of small towns, the reclining branches create a canopy of speckled light.

The national champion live oak was discovered in 1976 near Louisburg, Louisiana. It had a diameter of 11.65 feet, height of 55 feet, and crown spread of 132 feet. The Florida champion live oak - as given in the 1984 revised list - was found in Alachua County and measured 108 inches in diameter, 83 feet in height, and had a spread 150.5 feet.

On the Gulf Coast, live oaks often support many types of epiphytic plants. That includes Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) which hangs in weeping garlands, giving the trees a striking appearance. Live oak is a fast-growing tree.

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