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Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)


Life history

Species overview

Pin Oak (Quercus palustris), a State Special Concern plant, is found in southern floodplain forests. Blooming occurs throughout May; fruiting occurs late July through early September. The optimal identification period for this species is late May through late September.

Synonyms: None

Identification

  • Distinguishing characteristics: Leaves appear similar to Q. elllipsoidalis (northern pin oak) and Q. coccinea (scarlet oak), but Q. palustris can be distinguished from these species by having a shallower acorn cup, covering only about 1/4 of the nut. Also, Q. palustris is found in wet lowlands as oppose to well-drained uplands.
  • Flower characteristics: Male catkins hairy, 5 to 10 cm; female flowers with wooly hairs; stigmas red.
  • Fruit characteristics: Acorn 1 to 2.5 cm wide; acorn cap saucer-shaped with very small scales that are covered with tiny hairs, covers 1/4 to 1/3 of the nut which is 10 to 14 mm wide.
  • Leaf characteristics: Shiny, paler on the underside, often tapering to a point at the base, wrapping around the petiole slightly, 2 to 3 pairs of toothed lobes, each lobe much longer than the center part of the leaf is wide.

Phenology

  • Blooming phenology: throughout May
  • Fruiting phenology: late July through early September
  • Optimum time to identify: late May through late September

Other

  • Growth form: Tree
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Acer saccharinum, Ulmus americana, Betula nigra, Quercus bicolor, Salix nigra, Leersia lenticularis, Carex muskingumensis.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Pin Oak (Quercus palustris). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.


Documented locations of Quercus palustris in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of March 2012.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in southern floodplain forests.
  • Soils: Streambottom or major wetland soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Pin Oak. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Floodplain Forest 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Pin Oak. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Pin Oak (Quercus palustris) has very few known occurrences in the state and is of the highest priority for conservation; we encourage you to consult with your District Ecologist or NHI Botanist for specific recommendations for your site.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.
  • Avoid site preparation that heavily disturbs herbaceous ground layer and soil; these include bulldozing and furrowing, as well as grubbing and stump removal.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Avoid rapid and dramatic reductions in canopy cover or basal area in wet areas to reduce risk of swamping.
  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.

Photos


Pin Oak  [Photo #12524]

Photo © Kitty Kohout.

Pin Oak  [Photo #12525]

Photo © Kitty Kohout.

Pin Oak  [Photo #1375]

Photo © Kitty Kohout.

Pin Oak  [Photo #1376]

Photo © Kitty Kohout.

Pin Oak  [Photo #22583]

Quercus palustris

Photo © Suzan Campbell.


Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Monday, July 21, 2014
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