Swamp Laurel Oak (Quercus laurifolia)

Height: To 60 feet, occasionally taller  

Evergreen/Deciduous: Deciduous to semi-evergreen

Lifespan: Short-lived; 50 to 70 years  

Fall Foliage: Yellow in deciduous trees

Range: The southeastern coastal plain, extending in places to the piedmont   

Typical Habitat: Non-flooded, but damp areas  

The Swamp Laurel Oak: Live Fast and Look Good   

The swamp laurel oak shares a lot of similarities with other oaks of damp areas: It grows quickly but lives a fairly short length of time. However, because of this rapid growth rate and its attractive growth habit, it’s often prized by landowners. It’s widely planted as an ornamental or shade tree, and its also used in riparian habitats to help slow erosion.

And because this tree not only grows quickly but also matures quickly, it is an important food source for wildlife. It is often capable of producing acorns well before its 20th birthday.

Identification: Tips & Tricks

This is yet another oak that can be nearly impossible to identify based on the foliage alone. It is easy to confuse with the willow oak (Quercus phellos), water oak (Quercus nigra), and laurel oak (Quercus hemisphaerica). In fact, it has been suggested that the swamp laurel oak is a naturally occurring hybrid between the willow and water oak.   

The Swamp Laurel Oak: Additional Information

If these interesting oaks have sparked your curiosity, be sure to check out these resources to learn more:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *