Live Oak

Kurt Elieson

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First Class requirement #6: Identify or show evidence of at least 10 kinds of native plants found in your community.

If there was a second state tree for Texas after the pecan, it might be the live oak (even if its species name is virginiana). Stephen Austin is said to have negotiated the first Texas boundary treaty with Indians during the 1830's under the Treaty Oak, a 500 year old live oak in Austin.

Live oaks have deep green leaves and dark trunks that look almost black from a distance. If you see a long row of trees with dark leaves and trunks, there is a good chance they are live oaks. They send out very long thin branches. If we have an unsually wet summer, the live oaks will look like they all need haircuts. Like red oaks, live oaks get galls and make acorns. New leaves will often be light green and have thorny points, but with time the leaves get a darker color and a smooth oval shape.

Live oaks get their name from the fact that they keep their leaves all winter. They do eventually lose their leaves, just not until spring. So in March, just as other trees are sending out new growth and starting to look good, live oaks look their worst as the old leaves finally die and fall off ahead of the next year's leaf cover.

Live oaks are probably the most common tree you will see in the median or along the side of the road as you drive around Dallas-Fort Worth. You will quickly learn to recognize them if you look for dark colored trees having bad hair days as you drive down the street.

Click on the pictures to see them up close.

Page last updated 2011.11.07