Southern Live Oak

Astute readers will have noticed that several months ago, this site got a new name: “Southern Live Oak.” In this new series of posts, I’ll take a look at the significance of this species and its place in the southern landscape.

Angel Oak - Charleston, South Carolina. (Mark Requidan)

Angel Oak - Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo: Mark Requidan)

The Southern live oak (quercus virginiana) is a subevergreen oak tree native to coastal areas, ranging from tidewater Virginia south to Florida and west along the Gulf Coast as far as Texas. Live oaks can live for many centuries and grow into massive trees, the wizened elders of the coastal lowlands. They stand sentinel over the Gulf Coast, their twisted branches and gnarled trunks witness to countless storms. The live oak’s massive, spreading branches fight a courageous battle against the force of gravity and, with great age, gracefully droop to rest upon the ground. For their neighbors, the Southern live oaks are symbols of strength, beauty, and hope.

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Next: A description of the Southern live oak.

For more on the Southern live oak, visit these excellent resources:

  1. The Live Oak Society
  2. Southern live oak photos and information by Tim Bekaert
  3. University of Southern Mississippi – Friendship Oak page
  4. Botanical description from Flora of North America
  5. More botanical description from the Smithsonian Marine Station
  6. NPR story about New Orleans live oaks after Katrina
  7. Pictures and video of the Biloxi tree sculptures
  8. Live oak fact sheet from Virginia Tech

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