Quercus Virginiana: Southern Live Oak Quercus Virginiana is an evergreen oak tree native the Southeastern United States. Though many other species are loosely called live oak, the southern live oak is particularly iconic of the Old South. Many very large and old specimens of live oak can be found today in the Deep South region of the United States. Although live oaks retain their leaves nearly year-round, they are not true evergreens. Live oaks drop their leaves immediately before new leaves emerge in the spring. Typically these oaks reach up to 66 ft in height with a limb spread of nearly 90 ft. Native Americans used to bend saplings over so that they would grow at extreme angles, to serve as trail markers. The southern live oak has a deep tap-root that anchors it when young and eventually develops into an extensive and widespread root system, making it extremely resistant to hurricanes.