Different Leaf Shapes in South Carolina Oak Trees

Oak trees make excellent shade trees, street trees and specimens in your home landscape. This large-growing species is popular in South Carolina because of its diverse uses. The water oak is frequently planted in buffer strips because it can tolerate swampy areas. The southern red oak will grow in all kinds of soil--even the heavy red clay of the Palmetto State. Among the oaks that grow in South Carolina, there are three different types of leaf shapes.

Untoothed Simple

A simple leaf means there is only one blade atop the petiole (the small stalk that connects the stem to the leaf blade). An untoothed leaf means that its margins are smooth, without any notches or teeth. In South Carolina, there are three oak varieties that have untoothed simple leaves: laurel oak (Quercus laurifolia), live oak (Quercus virginiana Mill.) and willow oak (Quercus phellos L.).

Toothed Simple

Toothed simple leaves are single blades with notches in their margins. These notches look like saw cuts or tiny teeth marks. In South Carolina, only one oak variety has toothed simple leaves: swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii Nutt.).

Lobed Simple

Lobed simple leaves are single blades with deeply cut segments on the margins. The lobes look almost like fingers. According to Clemson Extension, the base of the lobe does not extend more than halfway to the leaf's midrib. There are seven oak species in South Carolina that have the lobed simple leaf: blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica), pin oak (Quercus palustris), post oak (Quercus stellata), southern red oak (Quercus falcata), turkey oak (Quercus laevis 'Walter'), water oak (Quercus nigra L.) and white oak (Quercus alba L.).

Keywords: Oak tree varities, Ooak leaf shapes, South Carolina trees

About this Author

Aileen Clarkson has been an award-winning editor and reporter for more than 20 years, earning three awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. She has worked for several newspapers, including "The Washington Post" and "The Charlotte Observer." Clarkson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Florida.