Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon:
- Broadleaf deciduous tree, small to medium sized, to 65 ft (20 m) tall with a crown of horizontal braches that may be gnarled and twisted. Leave simple, alternate, 15-25 cm long, oblong, with 3-5 lobes, the terminal lobe and the next lower lobes may be rectangular (square-like) giving the leaf a cross-like appearance, margin mostly entire, leathery texture, green above with scattered stellate hairs, the underside is paler with a gray to brownish pubescence. Male flowers are borne in yellow-green, hanging catkins and female flowers are reddish and in short spikes in leaf axils. Fruit (acorns) are ovoid, 1.5-2.5 cm long, light brown, enclosed a third to a half by the cap.
- Note: Quercus stellata is often identified by its commonly cross-shaped leaf form, particularly in the eastern part of its range. All individuals and populations do not express this characteristic, however. Moreover, it has broad overlap with Sand Post Oak, Q . margaretta, and even with some forms of the Blackjack Oak, Q . marilandica, one of its most common associates. The thick yellowish twigs with a covering of stellate hairs and the dense harsh stellate hairs on the abaxial (“lower") leaf surface are better diagnostic characteristics when variation includes leaf forms that are not obviously cruciform. Additionally, Q. stellate apparently forms with Quercus marilandica , Q . alba , and various other white oaks. It is also one of the few oaks that appears to produce hybrids with species in the live oak group (Flora of North America).
- Sun, open exposure. Found primarily on dry uplands with soils that are shallow, well-drained, coarse-textured, and deficient in nutrients and organic matter.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 5 It is widespread in the eastern and central United States from southeastern Massachusetts, south to central Florida; and west to southeastern Iowa and Kansas, western Oklahoma, and central Texas.
- stellate: star-shaped, apparently a reference to the leaf hairs that have several branches radiating from a base.