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Willow Oak

Quercus phellos


The willow oak is unique in appearance with its blade-like leaves. Tree shape resembles that of pin oak, with downward-sloping lower branches when grown in the open. Acorns are very small and bitter, but are a good food source for wildlife especially when they are the most abundant acorn. Songbirds love the acorns due to their small size.


Southeastern US, ranging from southeastern Oklahoma up to southern New Jersey, south to northern Florida.

Distribution Map


Bottomlands, poorly drained upland areas, swamps. Adaptable to a wider variety of habitat; very popular in landscaping.


Oblong, very narrow, with no lobes; resembling the leaf of a willow tree.

Willow Oak


Light to dark gray, ranging from smooth to coarsely fissured.

Willow Oak


Small (1/2") with brown stripes when ripe; shallow cap covering about 1/4 of the nut.

Willow Oak


Look-alike oaks:

Pin Oak - tree shape, bark, and habitat are similar; however, pin oak has a lobed leaf typical of most red oaks.

Water Oak - bark and habitat similar; leaf shape of willow oak is more narrow and blade-like while water oak leaves are broader at the apex.

Shingle Oak - both species have non-lobed leaves; however, shingle oak leaves are broader, shaped more like that of laurel. Willow oak leaves are very narrow.

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