The low‐temperature epitaxial growth of Si under conditions in which no nucleation occurs on SiO2 (selective growth) results in interesting new surface morphology. For substrates free of nonvolatile surface contaminants, specular defect‐free films are obtained at 850 °C. Surprisingly, small residual oxide islands can also be tolerated because of epitaxial lateral overgrowth. However, for islands greater than about 50 nm, shallow surface pits on an otherwise specular surface are observed. Based on experiments that show a reduction in growth rate in oxygen‐implanted regions, these surface depressions are attributed to an oxygen effect. If the interfacial oxide islands are of such high density that they merge into a semicontinuous film, a textured surface morphology is observed, although the film is epitaxial and can be defect free. At even higher levels of interfacial contamination, threading dislocations and other defects are observed.