Quercus marilandica is a tree to 15 m tall; red oak group, (subgenus Erythrobalanus), bark black, fissures blocky, roots associated with ectomycorrhizal fungi (Decker and Boerner 1997).
Leaves alternate, wide near top, lobes shallow, 3-5, base rounded, leathery, shiny above tan hairy in veins below.
Flowers green, monoecious, male in catkins, female flowers 1-few together; blooms April-May, wind pollinated.
Fruit acorns to 1 cm long 1.8 cm wide (Flora of North America 1993+), tannin content high; cap about 2 cm wide, covering 1/2 acorn, scales large, matures 18 months, Sept.-Nov. Seeds dispersed by squirrels, blue jays and other animals that bury acorns. Acorns eaten by many birds and mammals that do not bury nuts (raccoons, foxes), (Martin et al. 1951; Wilson 1993).
Wetland status: NL.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent, (NYS S3, U) NYS watch list.
Habitat: sandy soil of south Staten Island. Tolerates dry, sterile soil, pH 4.6-5.6 (USDA, NRCS 2010), salt, drought. Intolerant of flooding, soil compaction, intolerant of shade, shade, index 2-4 (Hightshoe 1988). Can use up to 85% full sunlight for photosynthesis (saturation point) (Hicks and Chabot 1985).
Notes: Deer and rabbits eat twigs, other animals eat buds (Martin et al. 1951). Foliage eaten by Gypsy moth larvae and other insects. (See Q. alba for insect predators). Included in a newly listed habitat type for New York State: Post Oak-Blackjack Oak Barrens, G2G3, NYS S1, U (Young and Weldy 2006). Occurring in Staten Island and Long island only.