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Native Plant of the Week: Scrub Oak

Family: Fagaceae

Name: Quercus ilicifolia - Scrub Oak

Bloom Time: Spring

Flower: Red/yellow/green

Soil Condition: Dry, Acidic

Light: Sun

Height: 12-20' tall by 10-15' wide

Native Range: Northeast United States including Long Island

Zone: 3 to 7

Photo: Male catkins (David LaMagna)

Not everyone has the space for large oak trees. Scrub Oak is perfect for the residential landscape as it is a shrub, not a tree. It is a monoecious plant meaning the male and female flowers are on the same plant. Male catkins are quite showy, while the female flowers are inconspicuous little spikes. It is wind pollinated and often hybridizes with other oak trees in the vicinity. It has lovely reddish-purple fall color and produces acorns every other year (biennial).

Maintenance: None

Benefits: Host plant to many insects, shelter and food source for many mammals

Fun Facts: Iroquois women used its acorns for menstrual cramps.

Companion Plants: Comptonia peregrina - Sweet Fern, Vaccinium angustifolium - Lowbush Blueberry, Pinus strobus - Eastern White Pine, Gaylussacia baccata - Black Huckleberry, Hypericum prolificum - Shrubby St. John's Wort



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