A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants
Cherrybark Oak, Swamp Spanish Oak, Southern Red Oak
Quercus pagoda (Q. falcata var. pagodifolia)
Full sun; moderately wet to moderately dry moisture level; prefers a rich organic loam but will grow in clay soil if drainage is good; acidic pH.
60-110 feet height by 60-80 feet spread; blooms in spring when leaves begin to unfold with yellow-green clusters of male catkins and inconspicuous green female spikes; orange-brown acorns, ½ inch long, with 1/3 of their length enclosed in a shallow thin cap, in fall. Acorns require two years to mature.
Growth Rate: Fast
Native Region: Concentrated in Coastal Plain Province
Large canopy tree with a straight trunk and open, rounded crown. Bark becomes dark, scaly and quite rough, resembling black cherry bark, hence the common name. Excellent large shade tree for landscaping. Wood is rated superior to any of the other oaks in the southern U.S. Lives up to 300 years. Occurs naturally in rich bottomlands including areas along rivers and streams but does not tolerate wet or swampy soils. Also occurs on poorer, dry upland soils and is one of the most common upland southern oaks. Acorn production begins at about 25 years of age.
Very high wildlife value. Many wild animals and birds use the acorns as food including squirrels, turkeys, bluejays, ducks, woodpeckers, nuthatches, raccoons and deer. Many insects feed on the leaves, wood, sap and acorns, and these insects attract woodpeckers, warblers, flycatchers, thrushes and other insect-eating birds. Offers important cover and nesting habitat for birds.