- Common Name(s):
- White oak
- Native Plants, Poisonous Plants, Trees
The Quercus alba, commonly called the White oak, grows to 50-80' tall in cultivation and taller (to 100') in the wild. It is pyramidal when young, but matures into a substantial tree with a thick trunk and wide-spreading, rounded crown. It is a difficult tree to transplant. As the tree ages, the bark becomes somewhat shaggy along the middle and upper stem.
The White oak grows over much of eastern North America and is an important hardwood timber tree.
Regions: Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains
Seasons of Interest:
Leaves: Fall Bloom: Early Spring Fruit/Seed/Nut: Fall
Wildlife Value: This tree is moderately resistant to damage by deer. It is a host plant for the Banded Hairstreak, Edward's Hairstreak, Gray Hairstreak, White-M Hairstreak, Horace's Duskywing, Juvenal's Duskywing, butterflies, and many moths. The Acorns are eaten by woodpeckers, blue jays, small mammals, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and black bear.
Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Potential insects include scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miner, and lace bug. Potential diseases include anthracnose and oak leaf blister. It is resistant to oak wilt.
- 60-100 ft.
- The White Oak has insignificant yellowish-green flowers in separate male and female catkins that appear in spring shortly after the leaves emerge. The fruits are rich brown oblong acorns (to 3/4" long) with a warty-scaled cap that covers about 1/4 of the nut and detaches at maturity in late fall. The acorn requires only one growing season to reach maturity.
- The White Oak is best grown in rich, moist, acidic, well-drained loams in full sun. Has a tolerance for drought, dry, rocky soil, and being planted near black walnuts. It will adapt to a wide variety of soil conditions.
- Medium to coarse
- Pyramidal in youth; broad crown with age; massive, spreading tree with thick trunk
- Full sun
- Nut, acorn
- Eastern US
- Poison Part:
- Acorns (seeds of nuts) and young leaves.
- Poison Delivery Mode:
- Stomach pain, constipation and later bloody diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination
- Acorns (nuts) are edible after tannins are leached or boiled out. Only collect nuts from areas you know.
- Toxic Principle:
- Gallotannins, quercitrin, and quercitin.
- CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN.
- Found in:
- Forest or natural areas; landscape as ornamental and shade trees.
- 50-90 ft.
- Growth Rate:
- The leaves (4-9" long) are alternate, simple and have 7 to 9 deep rounded lobes. They emerge pinkish in the spring but mature to dark green. The White Oak has variable fall color ranging from uninteresting browns to quality shades of dark red.
NCCES plant id: 2154