What kind of tree is this?

Asked June 17, 2019, 8:43 AM EDT

Hello, this tree is in my backyard and I’ve not been able to identify it. The leaves are similar to a Magnolia, but they’re much smaller and the tree does not flower. The tree is also much bigger than a typical Magnolia, with the canopy probably 40 feet and the width about 30 feet across. It also doesn’t lose it’s leaves all at once in the fall, but instead loses them gradually over the winter.

Baltimore County Maryland

5 Responses

We think this is Quercus herisphaerica, or Laurel Oak. (There are some other oaks that are popularly called laurel oak, too. )

This one matches your description of the smaller leaves and evergreen until losing leaves late in the winter season. It is not commonly found in central Maryland, more often in the coastal South.

Has it ever produced acorns?


I have not noticed any acorns, no. Although, we have only lived in the home less than a year. I've also recently seen pictures of Live Oaks which also look a lot like our tree. The leaves on our tree don't seem to have any lobes at all and ten to be recurved (which I understand is a feature of Live Oaks). Having said that, I think the bark of the Laurel tree looks more like our tree than a Live Oak. Perhaps I can attach more pictures

Photos of the bark, recurved leaves, and leaf underside may prove helpful.


I’ve attached a few more photos of the bark, the full tree top to bottom (it lost a large part of the trunk several years ago in a storm we are told), and another shot of the leaves showing the underside and tops.

Thank you for the additional pictures. We still think this looks like Quercus herisphaerica, or Laurel Oak.

Live oaks develop a bark that is very dark, almost black, and described as resembling alligator hide. If you see acorns on the tree in the fall, that would be another characteristic to help confirm the ID. Also, leaf buds can be helpful to look at to compare oak species.