Ten Facts about Turkey Oak
The turkey oak is a deciduous tree commonly found in sand dunes, sand hills, and ridges. Learn more about these trees, including how they got the name “turkey oak” and why they’re useful to people who want to attract wildlife to their landscape.
- The scientific name for turkey oak is Quercus laevis. Quercus is the Latin name for “oak,” and laevis comes from the Latin word meaning “smooth, slippery, or polished,” which refers to the tree’s nearly hairless leaves.
- Turkey oak, or turkey-foot oak, received its common name from the shape of its leaves, which resemble a turkey’s foot.
- Turkey oak is also known as scrub oak—referring to the habitat where the species is commonly located.
- These trees can be found from Virginia, south to central Florida, and west to southeastern Louisiana.
- If homeowners want to provide food for wildlife, turkey oaks are a good choice. Turkey oak acorns are an important food source for many animals including the black bear, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey.
- Turkey oak has a high resistance to wind and is also drought tolerant.
- These trees typically grow to about 40 feet but can reach heights of 70 feet.
- Turkey oak produces large amounts of pollen, causing many people to be allergic to them.
- The tree’s wood has been used for lumber and general construction, but is commonly used for fuel wood, barbecuing, and farm construction.
- Turkey oak flowers bloom in November.
Adapted and excerpted from:
M. G. Andreu, M. H. Friedman, M. McKenzie, and H. V. Quintana, “Quercus laevis, Turkey Oak (FOR250),” UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation (rev. 04/2013).
D. Culbert, “Turkeys Are Not Always Birds,” UF/IFAS Extension Okeechobee County(11/2004).
“Turkey Oak,” 4-H Forest Resources (Accessed 11/2013).