Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Quercus lyrata


SPECIES: Quercus lyrata
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Sullivan, Janet. Quercus lyrata. 1993. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : QUELYR SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : QULY COMMON NAMES : overcup oak swamp post oak swamp white oak water white oak TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of overcup oak is Quercus lyrata Walt. [18,28]. Two accepted forms are differentiated [7]: Q. l. forma lyrata, with hairy undersurfaces, Q. l. forma viridis Trel., with scattered hairs on leaf undersurfaces. Overcup oak hybridizes with many other oaks in the white oak subgenus (Quercus) including white oak (Q. alba), swamp white oak (Q. bicolor), Durand oak (Q. durandii), bur oak (Q. macrocarpa), swamp chestnut oak (Q. michauxii), post oak (Q. stellata), and live oak (Q. virginiana) [28]. Overcup oak is genetically most similar to post oak, based on electrophoretic evidence [14]. LIFE FORM : Tree FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Quercus lyrata
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Overcup oak occurs on the Coastal Plain from southern Virginia south to Georgia and northwestern Florida; west to eastern Texas; north in the Mississippi Valley to extreme southeastern Oklahoma, southern Illinois, southwestern Indiana, and western Kentucky. Disjunct populations occur in Delaware, Maryland, central Tennessee, and northern Alabama [27,28]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine FRES14 Oak - pine FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood STATES : AL AR DE FL GA IL IN KY LA MS MO NC OK SC TN TX VA WV BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K100 Oak - hickory forest K113 Southern floodplain forest SAF COVER TYPES : 14 Northern pin oak 61 River birch - sycamore 62 Silver maple - American elm 63 Cottonwood 65 Pin oak - sweetgum 87 Sweet gum - yellow-poplar 88 Willow oak - water oak - diamondleaf oak 91 Swamp chestnut oak - cherrybark oak 92 Sweetgum - willow oak 93 Sugarberry - American elm - green ash 94 Sycamore - sweetgum - American elm 95 Black willow 96 Overcup oak - water hickory 101 Baldcypress 102 Baldcypress - tupelo 103 Water tupelo - swamp tupelo 104 Sweetbay - swamp tupelo - redbay SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Overcup oak is dominant in only one described cover type, overcup oak/water hickory (Carya aquatica) [8]. This cover type extended over 1,241,250 acres (496,500 ha) of the lower Mississippi Valley in 1990. It was the most floristically diverse of the wet-site cover types, with five species making up 60 percent of the basal area [30]. Tree associates not mentioned previously include laurel oak (Q. laurifolia), American elm (Ulmus americana), cedar elm (U. crassifolia), water locust (Gleditsia aquatica), common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), planer-tree (Planera aquatica), and red maple (Acer rubrum). Shrub associates include swamp-privet (Forestiera acuminata), roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii), swamp dogwood (C. stricta), and common buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) [12,39].


SPECIES: Quercus lyrata
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : Overcup oak wood is used for lumber and cooperage. It is of low quality when compared to the wood of other white oaks [39]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Ducks, wild turkeys, squirrels, and white-tailed deer eat overcup oak acorns [18]. The large size of overcup oak acorns renders them less suitable for duck food than other acorns [6]. Overcup oaks are planted to improve wildlife habitat [39]. PALATABILITY : Overcup oak acorns are low in palatability to fox squirrels when compared to other acorns [33]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : Overcup oak is planted as an ornamental [39]. Acorns of most oak species have been used as food by humans. The bark of oak trees has been used to make dyes, and for tannin extraction [23]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Overcup oak is susceptible to heart rots after injuries, particularly by fire [39]. Overcup oak is favored by clearcutting or group cutting on poorly drained soils; it may be the only commercial species that grows well on wet bottomland sites [11]. In Missouri, the removal of more desirable species such as pin oak (Quercus palustris) may increase the proportion of overcup oak. High early summer temperatures significantly reduce overcup oak growth. Soil moisture is not a limiting factor on floodplain sites; soil is apparently moist enough for growth even in dry years [38]. Flooding from February to July is beneficial to timber-sized overcup oak trees, but not other size classes [16]. Natural reforestation of bottomland oldfields now favors tree species that tolerate dry soils because a large proportion of formerly wet sites are subject to flood control. Since overcup oak is dependent on overflow or floodwaters for seed dispersal, it has to be planted on these sites if its presence is desired [32]. Post harvest site preparation for regeneration of overcup oak/water hickory stands on low, flat sites or sloughs resulted in good numbers of new overcup oak seedlings, regardless of treatment. The treatments included 1) injecting all residual stems with herbicides, 2) leaving residual basal area of desirables uninjected and injecting the remainder with herbicide, or 3) shearing the entire site with a "V"-blade tractor [20]. Nuttall oak (Q. nuttallii) is often used to replace overcup oak on sites that have reduced flooding or stream flows [22]. Stream channelization projects result in sites of varying stability over time. Overcup oak is only associated with channelized sites that are relatively stable [19]. The inconsistency of stump sprouting makes this an unreliable source of new stems for stand regeneration [39].


SPECIES: Quercus lyrata
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Overcup oak is a deciduous, native tree [12]. Mature trees usually range from 60 to 90 feet (18-27 m), and 24 to 30 inches (61-76 cm) d.b.h. Maximum height is rarely over 100 feet (30 m) [34,39]. The bark has thick, irregular plates or ridges covered with inner scales. The root system is usually shallow and saucer shaped. Seedling taproots are usually replaced by a lateral root system [39]. Mature crown leaves range from 5 to 8.5 inches (13-21.5 cm) in length and are usually five- to nine-lobed [12]. The acorns range from 0.48 to 1 inch (12-25 mm) in length, and are nearly globose to broadly ovoid. The acorn cup covers two-thirds to nearly all of the acorn, with acute scales [7]. Oaks usually grow slowly for the first 10 to 15 years; growth rates become more rapid thereafter [21]. The national champion overcup oak for 1976 was in South Carolina; it measured 22 feet (6.7 m) in circumference, was 123 feet (37 m) tall, and had a 48-foot (14.6-m) crown spread [12]. The largest overcup oak (ranked by point system in 1990) was found in Texas. It was 51.1 inches (129.8 cm) in diameter, 160.53 inches (13.37 m) in circumference, and 114 feet tall (34.7 m) [29]. Overcup oaks can live to 400 years of age [39]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Overcup oak becomes sexually mature around 25 to 30 years of age. Good seed crops are produced approximately every 3 or 4 years, although yield is relatively low compared to other oaks [39,43]. Overcup oak acorns have a unique spongy shell that renders them buoyant [26]. They are disseminated by water and, to a lesser extent, animals [39]. Acorns can be carried long distances by streams. Overcup oak acorns have been found on the beach of a northwestern Florida island, miles from any apparent seed source [4]. Overcup oak acorns are dormant only over the winter and germinate in the spring after flood waters recede [39]. One study reported that submergence reduces germination [16]. Another study, however, found soaking overcup oak acorns strongly retarded germination, but did not appreciably reduce germination rates. The first-mentioned study may be based on shorter test times, and not have allowed for the ability of overcup oak to germinate after a long period. Delayed germination may be an adaptive trait that increases the likelihood that young seedlings will germinate after spring floods recede. Partial shade is beneficial for oak germination [34]. Good germination occurs on moist surface soils when acorns are covered by leaves [21]. Natural reproduction is usually prolific, but mortality rates are high, probably due to flooding. Successful regeneration is dependent on the an adequate seed source and complete absence of fire [39]. Stumps of small trees sprout vigorously but not consistently [39]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Overcup oak occurs on low, wet soils in floodplain forests, bottomlands, streambanks, and bayous, and sometimes on adjacent lower slopes [7,12]. It occurs most often on soils with a moderate water table depth. Sites are commonly flooded for 29 to 40 percent of the growing season [15,16,39]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Overcup oak forms climax stands on low, backwater flats and is usually subclimax on better sites. It is relatively intolerant of shade [39]. It usually succeeds black willow during very slow succession on shallow swamps or on slough margins [36]. Disturbance results in a strong release response from suppressed overcup oaks [38]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Overcup oak is late to leaf out in the spring, sometimes as long as a month behind sympatric species. This late emergence probably contributes to its flood tolerance [36,39]. Overcup oak flowers from March to May as its new leaves appear [7,39]. Acorns ripen the same year, from September to October, and are disseminated shortly thereafter [1].


SPECIES: Quercus lyrata
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Fires may be severe during prolonged drought in the swamps in which overcup oak occurs. Fires in these bottomlands are usually surface fires which destroy young seedlings and saplings of all species, and scorch the bark of larger trees, including overcup oaks [35]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/soboliferous species root sucker Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Quercus lyrata
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : DeSelm and Clebsch [5] reported that mature overcup oak trees are somewhat resistant to direct mortality from fire, but barely survived two to five prescribed fires between 1964 and 1988 [5]. In overcup oak, even minor injuries from fire can create avenues of infection for heart rots, which can cause decadence and/or mortality years later [39,41]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Young overcup oak trees may sprout after top-kill by fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : The usual fire season for bottomland hardwoods is fall, especially in years when summer drought extends to fall and winter [36].


SPECIES: Quercus lyrata
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