Post Oak

Grows on dry, sandy sites from southern New England to northern Florida; has cross-shaped leaves and acorns that are eaten by many animals. Its wood is heavy, hard and close-grained; used for fence posts, fuel and general construction.

Quercus stellata (Post oak) is an oak in the white oak group. It is a small to medium-sized tree, typically 40-50’ tall and 1-2’ trunk diameter, although it is sometimes considerably larger. It is native to the eastern United States, from Connecticut in the northeast, west to southern Iowa, southwest to central Texas, and southeast to northern Florida. It is one of the most common oaks in the southern part of the eastern prairies. 

The name refers to the use of the wood of this tree for fence posts. Its wood, like that of the other white oaks, is hard, tough and rot-resistant. This tree tends to be smaller than most other members of the group, with lower, more diffuse branching, largely reflecting its tendency to grow in the open on poor sites. The branching pattern of this tree often gives it a rugged appearance. 

Two similar species, Sand post oak (Quercus margarettiae) occurs on deep sands and has smaller leaves with downy pubescence; bottomland post oak (Q. similis) occurs on the wet lowlands of southeast Texas.

The leaves are broad, usually 4" to 6" long and nearly as broad, and flat and have very distinctive shape, with three perpendicular lobes, shaped much like a Maltese Cross. They are thick and somewhat leathery, dark green and shiny on the upper surface and lighter green with fine hairs beneath.
Post Oak



Post Oak Acorns
Male and female flowers are borne in spring on the same tree, the male flowers on drooping, clustered catkins, 2" to 4" long, the female flowers inconspicuous.

The acorns are usually light brown, no longer than 1 inch long with a cup that covers 1/3 of the nut. They mature in their first summer.

The bark of the Post Oak is light gray to brownish, and often fissured into scaly ridges. The wood is heavy, hard, and strong, close-grained, and is very durable when in contact with soil. Its use is mainly for fence posts, railroad crossties ties, mine props, occasionally for lumber. It is a popular wood for smoking Texas barbecue and also used sometimes as fuel.

Post Oak Leaf                             Post Oak Trunk

References
1. "Quercus Stellata." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 08 Dec. 2012. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_stellata

2. Post Oak (n.d). Ohio Public Library Information Network, Retrieved at : www.oplin.org/tree/fact%20pages/oak_post/oak_post.html

3. Texas A&M Forest Service - Trees of Texas - List of Trees." Texas A&M Forest Service - Trees of Texas - List of Trees. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. Retrieved at: http://texastreeid.tamu.edu/content/TreeDetails/?id=107&t=O

4. Tree Itself. (n.d.) Digital Image. Meridian Community Unit school District #15. Web 20 Sept. 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.meridian.k12.il.us/middle%20school/student_work/jacob_treehugger/post%20oak.html

5. Leaf of the Tree. Tree Itself. (n.d.) Digital Image. Meridian Community Unit school District #15. Web 20 Sept. 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.meridian.k12.il.us/middle%20school/student_work/jacob_treehugger/post%20oak.html

6. Acorns of the Tree. Tree Itself. (n.d.) Digital Image. Meridian Community Unit school District #15. Web 20 Sept. 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.meridian.k12.il.us/middle%20school/student_work/jacob_treehugger/post%20oak.html

7. The Leaves. (2006) Digital Image. Pittsburgh State University. Retrieved from: http://www2.pittstate.edu/herbarium/woody/Quercus_stellata_PostOak.html

8. Bark. (n.d). Ohio Public Library Information Network, Retrieved at : www.oplin.org/tree/fact%20pages/oak_post/oak_post.html