Overcup Oak (Quercus lyrata)
Overcup oak gets its common name from the distinctive bur-like acorn cup that typically encloses 2/3 to almost all of the nut. It is a medium sized deciduous oak (part of the white oak group). This is a bottomland tree that is native to floodplain forests, lowlands, and along swamps.. It is particularly prevalent in coastal plain swamp forests from Texas to Florida north to New Jersey and up the Mississippi River valley to Missouri, southern Illinois and Indiana. Ornamentally insignificant flowers bloom in March or April (males in slender yellow catkins to 4-6″ long and females in short few-flowered reddish spikes). Deep green leaves (6-10Ó long and to 4″ wide) with fuzzy white undersides each have 5-9 deep rounded lobes. Leaves turn shades of yellow-brown (sometimes with orange and red) in fall. Female flowers give way to acorns (to 1″ long) which mature in September to October. Overcup oaks usually do not begin bearing acorns until 25-30 years old. Slightly shaggy gray to grayish-brown bark on mature trees is reminiscent of white oak..
Map courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plants Database.