Quercus alba

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Quercus alba - White Oak
Common name: White Oak
Family: Fagaceae (Beech)
Distribution: SE Canada to C and E USA
Habitat: Rick uplands, moist bottomlands, along streams, hammocks, sinks, sandy plains, and gravelly slopes
Hardiness: -40 - 30 F
Life form: Deciduous tree
Fall color: Red, purple; developes late and lasts
Foliage characteristics: Simple, alternate leaves with 5-9 rounded lobes.Green above and whitish underneath. 4-8" long.
Fruit characteristics: Elongated, tan to brown acorn which appears in pairs or singularly. Cap is bumpy and covers 33-50 percent of the nut. .75-1" long.
Bloom Time: May
Bark characteristics: Light gray, scaly to irregularly plated or ridged and furrowed.
Average height: 60-80'
Structure: Young: pyramidal Mature: rounded
Bloom characteristics: Male flowers are yellow-green catkins which are 2-4" long. Female flowers are reddish and appear as single spike with the leaves.
Key ID characteristics: Leaves have rounded lobes; ashy, gray bark; small, elongated acorns.
Medicinal/pharmaceutical: Native Americans used oil pressed from acorns to alleviate joint pain.
Ethnobotanical uses: Acorns were an important food source for Native Americans in the tree's growing range.
Description: White oak is a large, native tree with strong and durable wood, and the main source of wood for whiskey barrels. It has been described as having sweeter and more edible acorns than other oaks, although the acorns still need to be boiled to remove bitter tannins. This oak also makes a lovely shade tree.
Links: Missouri Botanical Garden Plant FinderUniversity of Connecticut Plant DatabaseUSDA Natural Resources Conservation Service


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