What is a Silk Oak?

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  • Written By: Sarah Sullins
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2019
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The silky oak tree is a type of evergreen tree that is native to the continent of Australia. It is also produced in other warm parts of the world, such as Africa, India, and Hawaii. In many areas, including Australia, the silky oak tree is grown so that it can be cut into timber, which is then used for many different purposes. Some areas grow this particular tree for shade, though, and in other areas it is grown simply for its beauty.

A silky oak can grow 60 to 100 feet (18 to 30 m) tall. It grows quickly, producing leaves that look like ferns. The leaves are typically green on top and brown or gray underneath. They may grow 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) long. It produces flowers that look like bottle-brushes, ranging between 3.2 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm) in length. The flowers are typically a golden-orange color.

This type of tree does very well in warm, desert-like areas. It only requires occasional water and can withstand short periods of drought. If the temperature in an area falls below 24°F (-3°C), a juvenile silky oak tree may need to be covered and protected from frost. The silk oak grows best in total sun.


While the silk oak tree is young, it can be kept inside of a home. During this time, this type of tree can tolerate a little bit of shade, but needs plenty of sun to grow properly. It may then be transplanted outside when it outgrows the house. Silk oak trees should be planted away from homes, cars, and buildings because the limbs of the trees are not strong and can be broken off in a storm.

The wood that is produced by the silk oak is used for several different purposes. It can be used to make cabinets, furniture, paneling, boxes, crates, or pallets. The grade of the wood from a tree typically determines what it will be used for. Many times, the tree is grown for the specific purpose of providing wood for these uses.

These trees are planted in several areas of the world to provide shade. This is true in places such as India and Africa, where they are widely used on coffee and tea plantations. A silk oak can also be used to control erosion in certain areas prone to that problem.



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