Brazos Bend State Park
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Twelve Trees of Brazos Bend State Park

Water Oak

Quercus nigra

SEMI-EVERGREEN—Will reach 80 feet tall. Semi-evergreen because it will lose many of its leaves in winter but will retain enough that it is not entirely bare.

LEAVES: Simple, alternate, variously shaped—wedge-shaped and rounded or three lobed at top.. The edges on some leaves have deep bristle tipped lobes. A variety of leaves may appear on the same twig. Leaves are 2-4” long, 1-2” wide, upper surface lustrous green and smooth with lower side lighter color. If the leaf looks like a canoe paddle you have a Water Oak tree.

BARK: Grayish black to light brown, scales so flat it may appear to be almost smooth, ridges flattened and thin.

FLOWERS: Male flowers borne on catkins while the female flowers are borne on spikes. Flowers appear with new leaves.

FRUIT: Acorns ripen in Sept.-Oct. of the second year. They are single or paired, 1/3-1/2” in length, light yellowish brown. They are enveloped in a shallow saucer shaped cup 1/3-1/2 of their length.

Grows in low woods, borders of streams or swamps.

This tree is used as a shade tree along streets since live oaks spread out too much. One unfortunate thing is that it is subject to attack by mistletoe.

Wood from this tree is used as cross ties, poles and for fuel.

The first tree on the right of the Creekfield Lake trail after crossing the road is a Water Oak. Look for the different types of leaves on the same tree.

Updated: Aug 12, 2011