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Quercus acutissima is often confused with:
Castanea dentata Castanea dentata
Castanea pumila Form
Fagus grandifolia Form
Native alternative(s) for Quercus acutissima:
Carya ovata Tree form (Guilford County, NC)-Early Fall
Fagus grandifolia Form
Quercus alba Full Form
Quercus rubra Full Form
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Quercus nigra Quercus nigra
Quercus alba Full Form
Quercus coccinea Form
Quercus acutissima has some common insect problems:
Common Insect Pests of Oak in North Carolina
Oak Pest Management Calendar
Quercus acutissima has some common disease problems:
Common Disease Pests of Oak in North Carolina

Quercus acutissima

Phonetic Spelling
KWER-kus ak-yoo-TISS-ee-muh
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Sawtooth Oak is a medium-sized deciduous tree that grows from 40 to 60 feet tall and 30 to 50 feet wide and is popular as a street tree. In recent years, it has been invading forests in the eastern United States and is considered a noxious weed or invasive in some states. It has a pyramidal habit when young and becomes oval to broadly rounded with age. The leaves are alternate, lance-shaped, and have bristly teeth along the margins. The flowers are very small. inconspicuous, and usually bloom in May.  The tree can produce acorns as young as 10 years of age and acorns are abundant on mature trees. The acorns are bitter and not a favorite of wildlife. Fall foliage is yellow to copper brown and often the leaves hang on through the winter months. 

The Sawtooth Oak is native to Japan, Korea, China, and the Himalayas. It has been widely planted in the United States to serve as food for wildlife and as an ornamental tree. This tree is no longer recommended in the United States because of its invasive tendencies, particularly in the eastern United States. It is currently on the plant watch list for the Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas. It is known to seed into the landscape in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. It is described as a noxious weed in some Midwestern States and is prohibited in Wisconsin.

The genus name, Quercus, is the Latin name for oak trees. The specific epithet, acutissima, means acute or sharp and refers to the leaf margins of the Sawtooth Oak.

The Sawtooth Oak is fast-growing and tolerant of a wide range of moisture and temperature conditions. It prefers acidic, humus, well-drained, moist soils in full sun but is adaptable to a variety of soil types. It is heat and humidity tolerant. Acorns and involucral cups provide a messy litter layer of fruits and twigs.

Because the Sawtooth Oak readily seeds and has escaped plantings thus becoming invasive in natural areas, it is recommended that this oak not be planted. Consider native or alternative trees such as the American Beech, or Red Oak for use in the landscape. 

Seasons of Interest:

Bark:  Winter     Bloom:  Spring         Foliage:  Spring, Summer, and Fall        Fruits: Fall

Quick ID Hints:

  • medium-sized deciduous tree, 40 to 60 feet tall, and 30 to 50 feet wide
  • gray to black bark with furrows and corky ridges
  • yellowish-green small male and female catkins emerge in the spring with the leaves
  • glossy, dark green, lance-shaped leaves with bristle-tipped marginal teeth at the end of each parallel vein
  • oval acorns measuring 1 inch long with a spiny and scaly cup (looks like twigs in a bird's nest) that covers 2/3 of the acorn

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Potential insect pests include scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miners, galls, oak lace bugs, borers, caterpillars, and nut weevils. Oak trees are susceptible to oak wilt, chestnut blight, shoestring root rot, anthracnose, oak leaf blister, cankers, leaf spots, and powdery mildew. Yellowing of the leaves, known as chlorosis, is common if planted in neutral or alkaline soils. Chlorosis will damage the tree severely.

The Sawtooth Oak is on the watch list for invasive species in North Carolina.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Gobbler'
    acorns are produce early and abundantly for wild turkey food
'Gobbler'
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#moths#weedy#fall interest#showy fruits#small mammals#food source wildlife#messy#wind tolerant#aggressive#deer resistant#nighttime garden#children's garden#playground plant#edible fruits#pollinator plant#fantz#parks#larval host plant#humidity tolerant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#problem for horses#banded hairstreak butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#imperial moth#juvenal’s duskywing butterfly#edward’s hairstreak butterfly#white-m hairstreak butterfly#horace’s duskywing butterfly#lawn planting#landscape plant sleuths course
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Gobbler'
    acorns are produce early and abundantly for wild turkey food
'Gobbler'
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#moths#weedy#fall interest#showy fruits#small mammals#food source wildlife#messy#wind tolerant#aggressive#deer resistant#nighttime garden#children's garden#playground plant#edible fruits#pollinator plant#fantz#parks#larval host plant#humidity tolerant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#problem for horses#banded hairstreak butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#imperial moth#juvenal’s duskywing butterfly#edward’s hairstreak butterfly#white-m hairstreak butterfly#horace’s duskywing butterfly#lawn planting#landscape plant sleuths course
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Quercus
    Species:
    acutissima
    Family:
    Fagaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Himalaya to China, Korea, Central & Southern Japan
    Distribution:
    Native: Assam, Cambodia, China, East Himalaya, Japan, Korea, Laos, Manchuria, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. Introduced: United States--AL, DC, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, MO, NC, PA, TN, VA, and WI
    Wildlife Value:
    Oak trees support a wide variety of Lepidopteran. You may see Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis) larvae which have one brood per season and appear from April-October in the south. Adult Imperial Moths do not feed. Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus), which have one flight from June-August everywhere but Florida where they emerge April-May. Edward's Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii), has one flight from May-July in the south and June-July in the north. Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), has three to four flights in the south from February-November and two flights in the north from May-September. White-M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album) has three broods in the north from February-October. Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) has three broods in Texas and the deep south from January-November, and two broods in the north from April-September. Juvenal’s Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis) has one brood from April-June, appearing as early as January in Florida. Acorns are a food source for wildlife but not a favorite due to bitterness. This tree is mildly resistant to damage by deer.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Acorns (nuts) are edible after tannins are leached or boiled out.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 30 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Broad
    Open
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are large oval acorns that have involucral bracts in a cup with long spreading, recurved scales that resemble a bird's nest. The acorn is about 1 inch long, and the scaly cup covers about two-thirds of the acorn. This tree produces a large number of acorns and litter can be problematic. The acorns attract squirrels and small mammals.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    The flowers bloom in May and are yellowish-green in separate male and female catkins. The female catkins are borne on spikes. The male catkins are golden and pendant. They are small and inconspicuous. The catkins emerge with the leaves.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are dark green, glossy, alternate, simple, lanceolate, lanceolate-oblong to obovate, acuminate, rotund to broadly cuneate, and serrate with broad teeth. They have lateral veins parallel and bristle-tipped marginal teeth at the end of each parallel vein. The leaf measures 4 to 7.5 inches long and up to 2.5 inches wide. They produce a golden brown to copper fall color, and the leaves persist into winter.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Black
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    The bark is gray to black with corky ridges and furrows with age.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Cluster of terminal buds
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Twigs are red to gray-brown in color and smooth. Buds are triangular, gray-brown, pubescent on the bud scale edges, and somewhat pyramidal. Buds are half an inch long and have imbricate scales.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Edible Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Compaction
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Humidity
    Wind
    Problems:
    Messy
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Abdominal pain, constipation then diarrhea (occasionally bloody), depression, frequent urination, discolored urine, jaundice; acorns can obstruct the digestive tract
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Gallotannins, quercitrin, and quercitin.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Leaves