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Any of several North American ornamental and timber trees in the red-oak group of the genus Quercus in the beech family. The southern live oak (Q. virginiana) is a massive (50 ft, or 15 m, tall), durable evergreen tree. The trunk divides near the ground into several limbs that extend horizontally as much as two to three times the height of the tree. The elliptical leaves are dark green and glossy above, whitish and hairy below. A valuable timber tree, the southern live oak is also planted as a shade and avenue tree in the southern U.S. The oldest trees are 200–300 years old.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on live oak, visit Britannica.com.