Quercus myrtifolia

Common Name: myrtle oak 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Fagaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 8 to 10
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 8.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Greenish
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-10 where it is best grown in sandy, moist to dry, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Established plants have good drought tolerance.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Quercus myrtifolia, commonly known as myrtle oak, is a small, often shrubby, evergreen oak with a spreading rounded crown and smooth dark brown bark. It is part of the red oak group. It typically matures to 15-20’ tall and 8-10’ wide, but occasionally rises to as much as 35’ tall. It is native to dry sandy soils of dunes, sandhills, dry ridges and hammocks, from sea level to 350’ in elevation, primarily along the coastal plain from South Carolina to southern Florida west to Alabama and Mississippi plus some off-shore islands where it often forms extensive thickets.

Myrtle oak features shiny, leathery leaves (to 2” long) which are dark green above and yellow-green to orange-brown beneath. Leaves are obovate with bristle at the rounded tip. Untoothed margins are rolled under. Foliage is considered to be evergreen (leaves persist on the tree until new growth commences in spring). Inconspicuous, ornamentally insignificant green flowers bloom in April-May. Flowers are followed by ovoid to globular acorns (to 1/2” long) which mature in two years on the previous year’s branchlets. A saucer-shaped cup encloses from 1/4 to 1/3 of each acorn. Trunks are often coated with lichens when mature.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for oak trees.

Specific epithet means with leaves like myrtle.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Oaks in general are susceptible to a large number of diseases, including oak wilt, chestnut blight, shoestring root rot, anthracnose, oak leaf blister, cankers, leaf spots and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests include scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miner, galls, oak lace bugs, borers, caterpillars and nut weevils.

Garden Uses

Small oak accent for dry sunny landscape areas.