The Peel Compton Foundation Legacy Trees

Willow Oak Tree – Compton Gardens and Arboretum

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Willow Oak – Quercus phellos
Beech Family (Fagaceae)

Quercus phellos, commonly called willow oak, is a medium to the large, deciduous oak tree of the red oak group that is noted for its oak shape, willow-like leaves, and relatively fast growth rate. It is native to the Southeastern United States, typically being found in moist bottomland soils. Willow oak typically grows 40-75’ tall with an oval to the rounded crown but may reach 100’ in ideal conditions. Smooth-edged, bristle-tipped, narrow, green leaves (to 5” long and 1” wide) are willow-like.

Horticulture note-Willow oaks are no relation to willows but they seem to soak up water in a similar fashion. Where do willow oak trees grow? They thrive in floodplains and near streams or marshes, but the trees are remarkably drought-tolerant, too.