open main page here



NOTE: there is rarely any "standard" or "typical" look for a wood so take what's in this table with a grain of salt
the REST of the pictures on this page will give you a better overall feel for this wood

live oak / Quercus spp. (primarily Quercus virginiana)

2" x 2" flat cut, 1" x 1" quartersawn, 3/4" wide end grain, and a 1/4" x 1/4" end grain closeup. Live oaks have far less of a "typical" or "standard" face grain look than other red and white oaks so the faces shown here are not necessarily terribly representative.

Semi ring porous (sometimes looking just diffuse porous because of weak growth ring boundaries) rather than ring porous like normal red and white oaks. It has pores in radial strands, sometimes in dendritic groups, usually (but not always) weak growth ring boundaries, strong rays, and banded parenchyma.

Primarily Quercus virginiana of the family Fagaceae, but includes at least all of the species listed below this table and very likely quite a few more. In the USA, it is quite common for people to mistakenly believe that "live oak" ONLY means Quercus virginiana because that species is the most commonly mentioned live oak in the USA.

The live oaks come from both the white oak group and the red oak group --- the term "live" oak is because the leaves on these species remain green and "live"-looking throughout winter when other oaks in both the red and white groups are dormant, leafless and "dead"-looking.

Live oaks are very clearly semi ring porous whereas all other oaks, red and white, are strongly ring porous.



A NOTE ABOUT OAKS IN THE USA AND EUROPE



A note on the groupings shown directly below: Where I have found only a single reference to a live oak as being part of the red or white group, I have indicated it as UNCONFIRMED unless the single reference is from a well respected authority.

From the red oak group: From the white oak group: Don't know which group these are in:

my samples:


both sides of a sample plank of live oak / Quercus virginiana --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of live oak / Quercus virginiana


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of live oak / Quercus virginiana --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a live oak sample plank listed as Quercus virginiana. The crappy quality of this sample is fairly common for those I received from the IWCS.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of live oak / Quercus virginiana --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of coast live oak / Quercus agrifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This species is from the red oak group.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of coast live oak / Quercus agrifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This species is from the red oak group.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Vietnamese oak / Quercus poilanei --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. I don't know if this is from the red oak group or the white oak group.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Emory oak / Quercus emoryi --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This live oak is in the red oak group.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of live oak --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was sent to me for ID. This is clearly a live oak, but I don't know what species it is and I note that it has relatively large pores for a live oak.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


A note about this sample: PALLET WOOD
both sides of a sample plank of encino / Quercus crassifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This is a Mexican live oak which I believe is in the red oak group.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


A note about this sample: PALLET WOOD
both sides of a sample plank of encino hojarasco (Mexican live oak) / Quercus crassifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. I don't know if this oak belongs in the red group or the white group.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of encino sunuj (Mexican live oak) / Quercus ocoteifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The vendor of this piece had it as Quercus acatenagguensis but that is a very obscure synonym for Quercus ocoteifolia.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of encino sunuj (Mexican live oak) / Quercus ocoteifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The vendor of this piece had it as Quercus acatenagguensis but that is a very obscure synonym for Quercus ocoteifolia.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of spalted cork oak / Quercus suber --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The spalting on this piece is pure white rot with no zone lines.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


plank (and end grain pic) of cork oak (Quercus suber) that was donated to the site by Ira Matheny, whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Cork oak is a live oak in the red oak group.


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of canyon live oak / Quercus chrysolepis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This live oak is in the white oak group.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of canyon live oak / Quercus chrysolepis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This live oak is in the white oak group.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

br>END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of canyon live oak / Quercus chrysolepis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This live oak is in the white oak group.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Lacey oak / Quercus laceyi --- HUGE enlargements are present. This species is a live oak; I don't know whether it is in the red oak group or the white oak group.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of ubame gashi (a Japanese live oak) / Quercus phillyraeoides --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This is a Japanese live oak. I don't know if it's in the red oak group or the white oak group. The sample is, obviously, segmented, but it is very nicely done.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of ubame gashi / Quercus phillyraeoides (this is a Japanese live oak) --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of myrtle oak / Quercus myrtifolia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. I don't know if this live oak is in the red oak group or the white oak group.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of sadler oak / Quercus sadleriana --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. I don't know for whether this live oak is in the red oak group or the white oak group.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of live oak / Quercus spp. --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This was identified as "turkey oak / Quercus laevis" with a note that it was collected by an IWCS member. BUT ... I have strong reason to believe that Quercus laevis is a ring porous oak and not an evergreen at all. I base that assessment of incorrect identification on the facts that (1) I have found numerous pictures on the Internet of Quercus laevis turning red and dropping off in the fall, (2) I have a sample of Quercus laevis from Mark Peet which is emphatically ring porous thus not a live oak and (3) this piece clearly IS a live oak (diffuse porous).


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of live oak / Quercus spp. --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This was identified as "turkey oak / Quercus laevis" with a note that it was collected by an IWCS member. BUT ... I have strong reason to believe that Quercus laevis is a ring porous oak and not an evergreen at all. I base that assessment of incorrect identification on the facts that (1) I have found numerous pictures on the Internet of Quercus laevis turning red and dropping off in the fall, (2) I have a sample of Quercus laevis from Mark Peet which is emphatically ring porous thus not a live oak and (3) this piece clearly IS a live oak (diffuse porous).


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


first face and the end grain of a sample of live oak / Quercus spp. (almost certainly Quercus virginiana) This part of a collection which is discussed here: COLLECTION B


the second face, before and after slicing off 1/8" showing how the patina from aging is only surface deep.


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above.


various pieces of live oak, all from the same tree. These were contributed by Mary Mobley, whom I thank. Mary sent them in very rough-cut form and I've cleaned up one or more surfaces and fine-sanded some of them. All of the pieces directly below are from this batch.


end grain and end grain closeup of one of the pieces


end grain of one of the pieces and END GRAIN UPDATE of another of the pieces


end grain and side grain closeups of the piece directly above. The side grain shows slices of some growth rings (show vertically)


end grain and end grain closeup of a piece showing some interesting yellow sapwood. I don't know whether yellow is normal for live oak sapwood but I doubt it, especially since my formal samples have no yellow in the sapwood.


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above; this pic was taken many years after the ones above and the piece is freshly sanded AND this pic was deliberately overexposed so it shows a brighter color than the wood actually is.


another chunk showing, in the 2nd pic, a quartersawn face grain with rays.


both sides of a sample plank of live oak / Quercus spp. --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was send to me for identification. It's unusually dark brown for an oak and it appears to be tension wood. You can see some twisting reflected in the curved lines on the face. The first face was sanded and the second face is darker because it still has a patina. The end grain update clearly shows live oak characteristics. There is white stuff running all through it.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above



The Wood Book pics



flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
Arizona black oak (Quercus emoryi, also listed as emory oak) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views. This live oak is in the red oak group.


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
live oak (quercus virens, which is just a synonym for Quercus virginiana) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views. This live oak is in the white oak group


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis, also listed as maul oak, thick-cup live oak, and hickory oak) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views. NOTE: the Wood Book has the flat cut and quartersawn images reversed, but I have corrected that here. This live oak is in the white oak group.


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia, also listed as holly-leaved oak) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views. This live oak is in the red oak group.


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
highland live oak (Quercus wislizeni, which is a mis-spelling of Quercus wislizenii) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views. This live oak is in the white oak group.


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
island live oak (Quercus tomentella, also listed as Santa Catalina white oak) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views. This live oak is in the white oak group.

web pics:


live oak end grain (no species specified)


end grain of live oak / quercus virginiana


end grain of cork oak, a live oak in the red oak group


flat cut live oak planks


flat cut planks listed as canyon live oak / Quercus chrysolepis


three views of a live oak plank, including a closeup. These pics were submitted to the site by Jack Morefield, who bought the plank from a Myrtle wood dealer on the Oregon coast who called it "Squirrel oak". Jack sent it to me for ID and it was on the mystery wood page for years as Mystery Wood 135. Jack told me The color is affected by the application of a clear finish and the wood is very heavy. Jack also reported that it has oak-like rays and he is confident that it IS a form of oak. Brian Harrington positively identified this as California black oak and another correspondent said it looks a lot like live oak he finds in Florida. Daniel Dill tells me it is definitely canyon live oak / Quercus chrysolepis which is a wood that used to be called squirrel oak but that name seems to not be used much any more. Daniel says that the curl and the wavy grain are common for canyon live oak, especially in the lower part of the tree. The species is also called black live oak, so Brian's ID as "California black oak" may not be a contradiction, although that name normally refers to Quercus kelloggii.


quartersawn live oak plank


live oak with drying cracks and BIG enlargements if you'd like to see it up close


live oak slabs and a closeup of the bottom one --- the color is probably more correct on the closeup


curly live oak slab


listed as figured live oak burl


turning stock listed as Texas live oak, all from the same vendor


turning stock listed as Texas live oak


turning stock listed as spalted Texas live oak


live oak vase


a pair of rough-turned bowls that will be dried further before final turning


rough turned bowl listed as Texas live oak


coast live oak bowl