Live oak
Overview
 
Live oak also known as the southern live oak, is a normally evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

 oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

 tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

 native to the southeastern
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Though many other species are loosely called live oak
Live oak
Live oak , also known as the southern live oak, is a normally evergreen oak tree native to the southeastern United States...

, the southern live oak is particularly iconic of the Old South
Old South
Geographically, Old South is a subregion of the American South, differentiated from the "Deep South" as being the Southern States represented in the original thirteen American colonies, as well as a way of describing the former lifestyle in the Southern United States. Culturally, the term can be...

.

When the term live oak is used in a specific rather than general sense, it most commonly refers to the southern live oak
Southern live oak
Quercus virginiana, also known as the southern live oak, is a normally evergreen oak tree native to the southeastern United States. Though many other species are loosely called live oak, the southern live oak is particularly iconic of the Old South....

 (the first species so named), but can often refer to other species regionally.

The southern live oak is the official state tree of Georgia.

In Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, a small grove
Grove (nature)
A grove is a small group of trees with minimal or no undergrowth, such as a sequoia grove, or a small orchard planted for the cultivation of fruits or nuts...

 of live oaks (Texas live oak or southern live oak) is known as a mott.
Live oak was widely used in early American butt shipbuilding.
Encyclopedia
Live oak also known as the southern live oak, is a normally evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

 oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

 tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

 native to the southeastern
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Though many other species are loosely called live oak
Live oak
Live oak , also known as the southern live oak, is a normally evergreen oak tree native to the southeastern United States...

, the southern live oak is particularly iconic of the Old South
Old South
Geographically, Old South is a subregion of the American South, differentiated from the "Deep South" as being the Southern States represented in the original thirteen American colonies, as well as a way of describing the former lifestyle in the Southern United States. Culturally, the term can be...

.

When the term live oak is used in a specific rather than general sense, it most commonly refers to the southern live oak
Southern live oak
Quercus virginiana, also known as the southern live oak, is a normally evergreen oak tree native to the southeastern United States. Though many other species are loosely called live oak, the southern live oak is particularly iconic of the Old South....

 (the first species so named), but can often refer to other species regionally.

The southern live oak is the official state tree of Georgia.

In Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, a small grove
Grove (nature)
A grove is a small group of trees with minimal or no undergrowth, such as a sequoia grove, or a small orchard planted for the cultivation of fruits or nuts...

 of live oaks (Texas live oak or southern live oak) is known as a mott.

Wood and lumber

Live oak was widely used in early American butt shipbuilding. Because of the trees' short height and low hanging branches, lumber from live oak was specifically used to make curved structural members of the hull such as knee braces (single-piece inverted L-shape braces that spring inward from the side and support a ship's deck). In such cuts of lumber, the line of the grain would fall perpendicularly to lines of stress, creating structures of exceptional strength. Live oaks were not generally used for planking because the curved and often convoluted shape of the tree did not lend itself to be milled to planking of any length. Red oak or white oak was generally used for planking on vessels, as those trees tended to grow straight and tall and thus would yield straight trunk sections of length suitable for milling into plank lengths.

Live oak was largely logged out in Europe by the latter half of the 19th century, and was similarly sought after and exported from the United States until iron- and steel-hulled commercial vessel construction became the standard early in the 20th century. Live oak lumber is rarely used for furniture due to warping and twisting while drying.

It continues to be used occasionally when available in shipbuilding, as well as for tool handles for its strength, energy absorption, and density, but modern composites are often substituted with good effect. Dry southern live oak lumber has a specific gravity
Specific gravity
Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a reference substance. Apparent specific gravity is the ratio of the weight of a volume of the substance to the weight of an equal volume of the reference substance. The reference substance is nearly always water for...

 of 0.88, among the highest of North American hardwoods.

List of evergreen species in genus Quercus

  • Section Quercus. The white oaks - Europe, Asia, North Africa, North America, styles short; acorns mature in 6 months, sweet or slightly bitter, inside of acorn shell is hairless
    • Quercus arizonica - Arizona white oak - southwestern North America
    • Quercus fusiformis - (also Quercus virginiana var. fusiformis) Texas live oak - south central North America
    • Quercus geminata
      Quercus geminata
      Quercus geminata, commonly called Sand Live Oak, is an evergreen oak tree that is native to parts of the coastal southeastern United States, along the Atlantic Coast from Miami-Dade County, Florida northward to southeastern Virginia and along the Gulf Coast from Florida northward and westward to...

      - sand live oak - southeastern North America
    • Quercus ilex - Holm oak - southern Europe
    • Quercus minima
      Quercus minima
      Quercus minima, the Dwarf Live Oak, is a rhizomatous oak tree. Growth is shrub-like, with it commonly forming extensive cloned colonies. Leaves are alternate, simple, and entire or with irregular teeth or lobes. Lobes when present are usually spine tipped. Leaves are retained through the winter,...

      - dwarf live oak - southeastern North America
    • Quercus oblongifolia - Mexican blue oak - southwestern North America
    • Quercus polymorpha
      Quercus polymorpha
      Quercus polymorpha, the Mexican White Oak, is a species of oak....

      - Mexican white oak or Monterrey oak - Mexico
    • Quercus pungens - sandpaper oak - south central North America
    • Quercus turbinella - shrub live oak - southwestern North America
    • Quercus virginiana - southern live oak - southeastern North America

  • Section Cerris. Europe, Asia, north Africa. Styles long; acorns mature in 18 months, very bitter, inside of acorn shell is hairless or slightly hairy
    • Quercus calliprinos - Palestine oak - western Asia
    • Quercus coccifera - Kermes oak - southern Europe
    • Quercus semecarpifolia - Himalayan oak - eastern Asia
    • Quercus suber - Cork oak - southwestern Europe

  • Section Protobalanus - Southwest USA, California coastal ranges and northwest Mexico, styles short, acorns mature in 18 months, very bitter, inside of acorn shell is woolly
    • Quercus chrysolepis
      Quercus chrysolepis
      Quercus chrysolepis, commonly termed Canyon Live Oak, or Golden Cup Oak, is a species of evergreen oak that is found in the southwestern part of North America, notably in the California Coast Ranges. This tree is often found near creeks and drainage swales growing in moist cool microhabitats...

      - canyon live oak - southwestern North America, especially coastal ranges of California
    • Quercus palmeri - Palmer oak - southwestern North America
    • Quercus tomentella - Channel Island oak - Channel Islands of California
      Channel Islands of California
      The Channel Islands of California are a chain of eight islands located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California along the Santa Barbara Channel in the United States of America...

    • Quercus vacciniifolia - huckleberry oak - California and southwestern North America

  • Section Lobatae. The red oaks - North, Central and South America, styles long, acorns mature in 18 months, very bitter, inside of acorn shell is woolly
    • Quercus agrifolia - coast live oak - California and southwestern North America
    • Quercus canbyi - Canby oak - Mexico
    • Quercus emoryi - Emory oak - southwestern North America
    • Quercus hemisphaerica - laurel Oak - southeastern North America
    • Quercus humboldtii - South American Oak - northern South America
    • Quercus laurifolia - swamp laurel oak - southeastern U.S.
    • Quercus hypoleucoides - silverleaf oak - southwestern North America
    • Quercus rhysophylla - loquat-leaf oak - Mexico
    • Quercus wislizenii - interior live oak - California and southwestern North America


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  • See the list of Quercus species for a fuller listing of oaks, including deciduous
    Deciduous
    Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

    species.

External links

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