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Overcup Oak

Quercus lyrata


The overcup oak is fairly widespread in distribution, but is limited to bottomlands, swamps, or flatlands that hold water. It is also cultivated for landscaping and is adaptable to urban environments. Acorns are a valuable food source for deer and other wildlife. The acorns are one of the easiest ways to identify this species, being fairly large and round, and almost entirely closed by the cap.


Southern and eastern US, limited to mainly lowlands and swampy areas.

Distribution Map


Bottoms, swamps, poorly and well-drained moist soils.


Dark green, with 5-9 lobes. Lobes and sinuses irregular, smallest near the base (petiole) giving the leaf a top-heavy appearance. Underside pale green.

Overcup Oak


Varying shades of gray, scaly. May range from blocky to almost smooth, but always somewhat scaly.

Overcup Oak


Large (3/4 to 1 1/2 inch) covered almost entirely by a scaly cap.

Overcup Oak


Look-alike oaks:

White Oak - leaves may bare some resemblance as well as the bark. However, leaves of overcup oak are more irregular in shape, and narrower near the base. Bark of overcup oak is usually darker gray than that of white oak. Acorns of white oak have much smaller caps than those of overcup oak.

Post Oak - Bark may occasionally be similar between species. Shade leaves of overcup oak may resemble those of post oak, with "blocky" lobes. However, sun leaves of overcup oak lack the blocky shape of post oak leaves. Acorns of overcup oak are much larger than those of post oak; post oak acorns also have smaller caps.

Swamp White Oak - leaves of both species have irregular lobes. However, leaves of swamp white oak have much shallower lobes than those of overcup oak. Overcup oak leaves generally have deep sinuses, while those of swamp white oaks are more similar to those of chestnut oak. Acorns of swamp white oak are much smaller than those of overcup oak, and are not covered mostly by the cap.

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