Quercus stellata

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: post oak 
Type: Tree
Family: Fagaceae
Native Range: Eastern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 35.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 35.00 to 50.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Yellowish-green
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Best grown in rich, moist, acidic, well-drained loams in full sun. Adapts to a wide variety of soil conditions from poor dry sandy soils to moist heavy loams. Prefers acidic soils. Good drought tolerance. May take up to 25 years for this tree to bear a first crop of acorns.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Quercus stellata, commonly called post oak, is a medium-sized deciduous oak of the white oak group that typically grows 35-50’ tall with a rounded crown. It is called post oak because its durable wood has been used for fence posts. It is commonly found on lower mountain slopes and coastal plains in the southeastern and southcentral U.S. In Missouri, it typically occurs in dry soils on rocky upland slopes, woods and glades or in moist soils along streams (Steyermark). Insignificant yellowish-green flowers in separate male and female catkins appear in spring as the leaves emerge. Fruits are oval acorns (to 3/4” long), with bowl-shaped cups extending 1/3 to 1/2 the acorn length. Acorns are an important source of food for wildlife. Rough, often leathery, dark green leaves (4-8” long) with 3-5 rounded lobes have a cruciform appearance due to large wide-spreading central lobes. Fall color is variable, ranging from uninteresting to quality shades of yellow and brown.

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

Specific epithet means starlike, in probably reference to the leaf shape, which is actually more cruciform than starlike.


Oaks 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. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, post oak is generally considered to be a low-maintenance, long-lived tree.


Shade tree, street tree or lawn tree. Infrequently cultivated.