Tree Information

Common Name: Compton oak

Scientific Name: Quercus xcomptoniae

Native/Naturalized: Native to Virginia

Status: alive

National Champion: no

Virginia Champion: yes

Circumference: 218 in.

Height: 66 ft.

Crown: 130 ft.

Points: 317

Date Last Measured: 2024

Last Measured by: Byron Carmean, Dylan Kania, Gary Williamson, Eric Wiseman

Date First Measured: 1988

2024 comments: Tree continues to thrive. No recent changes in its status or condition. It is under the expert care of the arborists at Colonial Williamsburg. They report that they recently performed a major rehabilitation procedure around the root zone of the tree to remove compacted soil and gravel. An air spade was used to loosen and remove the compacted material and replace it will compost, biochar, and mulch. A barrier has been erected around the canopy of the tree to limit foot traffic on the roots. Occasional pruning is performed strictly to remove broken or declining branches. Arborists report that the tree is tardily deciduous and varies from year to year. This past year, it happened to completely shed all of its leaves. The visit in mid-May found the tree with a full flush of healthy, vibrant foliage. Flower catkins were also abundant, but arborists report that the offspring acorns do not inherit genes of the intermediate Compton oak form. Instead, they seem to revert to full overcup oak form. Great crested flycatchers like to perch in the edge of the crown to catch insects hovering nearby. Trunk circumference was measured at 3' above ground to avoid the abnormal taper of root flare and branch flare.

2014 comments: Measured by Lane Dellinger, Kevin Sigmon, and Eric Wiseman at 190", 61', 119', 281 points.

A natural hybrid of Quercus virginiana (live oak) and Quercus lyrata (overcup oak). Is evergreen to tardily deciduous. This specimen is mentioned in the paper "Hybrid Oaks of North America", written by Ernest J. Palmer and published in the Journal of the Arnold Arboretum in January 1948. According to this paper, the tree was found as a natural hybrid tree in Virginia Beach and transplanted to the Courthouse Green. Paper also states that the common name derives from Ms. C.C. Compton of Natchez, MS, who disseminated seedlings of trees found in her home state to arboreta around the country. An informative story about the Colonial Williamsburg Compton Oak was written by Ricklin Brown for the James City County Williamsburg Master Gardener Association (JCCWMGA). Ricklin's research suggests that the tree was transplanted to its current location as a sapling of 15'-18' height in 1938.

E. Wiseman. May 2024.

Location of Tree

Tree is located in: City of Williamsburg

State Map

Land Owner: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

GPS Coordinates: 37.272167, -76.7005

Owner Email:

Directions: The tree is within the boundary of historic Colonial Williamsburg, located in Market Square near the corner of North England Street and Nicholson Street.

Owner Phone: 757-565-8374

Contact Information

Contact Name: Charles Gardner

Contact Email:

Contact Info: Another contact: Jonathan Lak, Horticulture Director,


Original Nominator(s): Byron Carmean, Gary Williamson

Additional Information

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