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Useful Temperate Plants

Quercus laurifolia

Michx.

Fagaceae


Quercus laurifolia Michx., and Quercus hemisphaerica W.Bartram ex Willd., were once considered a single species. However, Quercus laurifolia flowers earlier and inhabits much wetter sites than the later-flowering upland Quercus hemisphaerica, providing evidence for the accepted distinction[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

+ Synonyms

Quercus aquatica laurifolia (Michx.) A.DC.

Quercus obtusa (Willd.) Ashe

Quercus obtusa Sarg.

Quercus phellos laurifolia (Michx.) Chapm.

Quercus rhombic Sarg.

Quercus uliginosa laurifolia (Michx.) Zabel

Common Name: Swamp Laurel Oak

No Image.

General Information

Quercus laurifolia is a semi-evergreen tree with a dense, oval canopy; it can grow up to 25 metres tall, occasionally to 40 metres. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 120cm in diameter[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use of its wood. It is often planted as an ornamental in the southeastern US because of its attractive, semi-evergreen foliage[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
Quercus laurifolia occurs widely throughout the coastal plain of the Southeastern United States. With no reports of major population decline across its wide distribution, the species appears to be stable. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

All parts of the plant contain tannins. Whilst tannins are found in many foods, and have a range of medicinal uses. They are usually only present in low concentrations. In some foods made from oaks (particularly the seeds), the tannin content can be quite high unless the food is treated to reduce tannin content.
Tannins are only of low toxicity and, because of their bitter taste and astringency, are unlikely to be eaten in large quantities. However, if they are taken in excess, they can cause stomach pains; constipation followed by bloody diarrhoea: excessive thirst; and excessive urination[
293
Title
Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent concise but comprehensive guide to toxic plants that grow in N. Carolina. It lists even those plants that are of very low toxicity, including several well-known food plants such as carrots and potatoes.
].

Botanical References

270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.

Range

Southeastern N. America - Virginia to Florida, east to Texas

Habitat

Moist sites in sandy floodplains, bottoms and riverbanks, as well as forested wetlands between swamps and pinelands; at elevations up to 150 metres[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *
Medicinal Rating *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitSemi-deciduous Tree
Height20.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Quercus laurifolia is a very cold-hardy tree, tolerating temperatures down to around -20°c when dormant. It grows best in areas with hot summers. In areas with cooler summers, such as the maritime regions of the temperate zone, it often grows poorly, failing to properly ripen its wood and suffering frost damage over the winter[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Succeeds in full sun and in partial shade[
1213
Title
Southern Trees Fact Sheets
Publication
 
Author
Gilman E.F.
Website
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/department_envhort-trees
Publisher
University of Florida, IFAS Extension
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of fact sheets on trees that can be grown in Florida. They can be downloaded from the Internet
]. Succeeds in a wide range of soils from sands to clays, preferring well-drained but tolerating occasionally inundated soils[
1213
Title
Southern Trees Fact Sheets
Publication
 
Author
Gilman E.F.
Website
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/department_envhort-trees
Publisher
University of Florida, IFAS Extension
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of fact sheets on trees that can be grown in Florida. They can be downloaded from the Internet
]. Prefers an acid soil but can tolerate slightly alkaline conditions[
1213
Title
Southern Trees Fact Sheets
Publication
 
Author
Gilman E.F.
Website
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/department_envhort-trees
Publisher
University of Florida, IFAS Extension
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of fact sheets on trees that can be grown in Florida. They can be downloaded from the Internet
].
A fast-growing tree but rather short-lived, often dying when 50 - 70 years old[
1213
Title
Southern Trees Fact Sheets
Publication
 
Author
Gilman E.F.
Website
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/department_envhort-trees
Publisher
University of Florida, IFAS Extension
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of fact sheets on trees that can be grown in Florida. They can be downloaded from the Internet
].
Trees can start producing moderate crops of acorns when around 15 years old[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
]. The acorns take 2 growing seasons to ripen[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
].
The smallest trunk injury or improper pruning cut can result in columns of decay inside the trunk which are 13 - 6 metres or more feet long[
1213
Title
Southern Trees Fact Sheets
Publication
 
Author
Gilman E.F.
Website
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/department_envhort-trees
Publisher
University of Florida, IFAS Extension
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of fact sheets on trees that can be grown in Florida. They can be downloaded from the Internet
].
Seeds take around 18 months to mature[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].

Edible Uses

The globose or ovoid seed can be 8 - 16mm long and 10 - 16mm wide[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].
Although we have no specific information for this species, the seeds of all the species of oak are edible - indeed, several species have been used as staple foods, whilst most if not all have been used for food in times of shortage, when better foods were not available[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
The seed is usually cooked before eating, though it can also be eaten raw. It can be eaten whole, though it is more commonly dried, then ground into a powder and used as a thickening in stews etc or mixed with cereals for making bread.
In some species, especially many of those classified as 'white oaks', the seeds are low in tannins and have a more or less sweet and agreeable flavour. The seed of most species, however, have a very bitter flavour, due especially to the presence of tannins. In these species there are various processes that can remove or at least reduce the amount of these bitter substances (although other water-soluble substances, including some minerals, will also be removed).
Tannins are water-soluble and therefore the easiest way to remove or reduce tannin levels is by soaking in water. A few different methods are listed:-
A traditional method of preparing the seed was to bury it in boggy ground overwinter and allow the wet soil to gradually leach the tannins. The germinating seed was dug up in the spring when it would have lost most of its astringency and bitterness.
Another method was to wrap the seeds in a cloth bag and place them in a stream for several weeks.
Drying the seed and grinding it to a powder before soaking speeds up the process. The fastest method is to use hot water, by cooking the powder and changing the water several times until the cooking water is no longer bitter. Alternatively, you can use cold water (which is reported to produce the best quality flour). In this case, you soak the powdered seed in cold water for 12 - 24 hours then discard the water. Repeat this process for a number of times until the soak water is no longer bitter.

The roasted seed of many Quercus species has been used as a coffee substitute.

Medicinal

Quercus (oak) species are used in the traditional medicine of many cultures, being valued especially for their tannins. Various parts of the plant can be used, most frequently it is the leaves, bark, seeds, seed cups or the galls that are produced as a result of insect damage. A decoction or infusion is astringent, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, styptic and haemostatic. It is taken internally to treat conditions such as acute diarrhea, dysentery and haemorrhages. Externally, it is used as a mouthwash to treat toothache or gum problems and is applied topically as a wash on cuts, burns, various skin problems, haemorrhoids and oral, genital and anal mucosa inflammation[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. Extracts of the plant can be added to ointments and used for the healing of cuts[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
1231
Title
Antibacterial and Antifungal Activities of Some Quercus Species Growing in Turkey
Publication
FABAD J. Pharm. Sci., 32, 127-130, 2007
Author
Didem Söhretoğlu; Melike Ekizoğlu; Ekrem Kiliç; M. Koray
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Other Uses

The leaves of most species in this genus are more or less rich in tannins. A mulch of the partially decayed leaves can be placed around vulnerable plants in order to repel slugs, snails, grubs etc, and these will in time break down to add humus and nutrients to the soil. Fresh leaves should be used with caution, however, since as these decay they utilize some of the nitrogen in the soil and thus can inhibit plant growth[
20
Title
Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Publication
 
Author
Riotte. L.
Publisher
Garden Way, Vermont, USA.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-88266-064-0
Description
Fairly good.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Oak galls are excrescences that are sometimes produced in great numbers on the tree and are caused by the activity of the larvae of different insects. The insects live inside these galls, obtaining their nutrient therein. When the insect pupates and leaves, the gall can be used as a rich source of tannin, that can also be used as a dyestuff and is also used by many cultures to make ink[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

The tree does not provide good quality lumber but is utilized as pulp wood and firewood[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Propagation

Seed - it quickly loses viability if it is allowed to dry out. It can be stored moist and cool overwinter but is best sown as soon as it is ripe in an outdoor seed bed, though it must be protected from mice, squirrels etc. Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold frame. Plants produce a deep taproot and need to be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible, in fact seed sown in situ will produce the best trees[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. Trees should not be left in a nursery bed for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved or they will transplant very badly.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-10-17. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Quercus+laurifolia>

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