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White Oak Quercus alba

Phonetic Spelling
KWER-kus AL-ba
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

White Oak is a deciduous tree that is native to Eastern North America. It prefers coarse, deep, moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil with medium fertility but is adaptable to other soil types except for wet ones. In cultivation, it grows to 135 feet tall and wide. White Oak has a deep taproot which makes it difficult to transplant but fairly drought tolerant once established. This tree is a long-lived and attractive oak. Fall foliage is wine red in color. This tree is for large areas and is utilized in parks, large estates, and large open commercial sites. 

It is slow-growing but makes a great large shade tree when mature with it's rounded spreading crown. Use as a shade tree for large yards or parks or in a naturalized area for wildlife to enjoy. This plant prefers deep, moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soils. It is difficult to transplant due to deep taproot. IT has a wide range of pest and disease problems.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  numerous insect and disease pests, but the damage is rarely significant

Quick ID Hints:

  • Pinnately lobed leaves with entire margins
  • Leaves widest typically at middle, glaucous below

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#poisonous#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#tsc#host plant#street tree#playground#black walnut#host#small mammals#food source#cpp#low flammability#NC native#black bears#deer resistant#woodpeckers#blue jays#acorns#children's garden#fire resistant#edible fruits#Braham Arboretum#fantz#food source fall#rocky soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#dry soils tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#poisonous#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#tsc#host plant#street tree#playground#black walnut#host#small mammals#food source#cpp#low flammability#NC native#black bears#deer resistant#woodpeckers#blue jays#acorns#children's garden#fire resistant#edible fruits#Braham Arboretum#fantz#food source fall#rocky soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#butterfly friendly#dry soils tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Quercus
    Species:
    alba
    Family:
    Fagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Hardwood timber for flooring, woodwork and barrels
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South East Canada to Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Distribution:
    Found along the entire eastern United States and west into Texas
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    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 joys, small mammals, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and black bear.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Wildlife Nesting
    Edibility:
    Acorns (nuts) are edible after tannins are leached or boiled out
    Dimensions:
    Height: 50 ft. 0 in. - 135 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 50 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    1/2-1 inch long acorns are elongated and have a shallow cup that covers 1/4 of the nut. The cup is light tan or gray with warty scales. Acorns mature the first year and can be numerous and are a deep chocolate brown color.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Male flowers are produced as greenish-yellow catkins in pendulous clusters about 2-3½" long. Female flowers are smaller and greenish-red and are few in spikes in axils of emerging leaves.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    White
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cuneate
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    4-9 inch long by 2-4 inch wide leaves have 5-9 deep, rounded and even lobes per leaf. They have a rounded tip and a wedge-shaped base. Color is bright green with whitish undersides. The fall color is purplish-brown to reddish-brown and develops late. A few leaves may persist into winter. Leaves are alternate, simple, obovate to oblong-obovate, and cuneate. Lobes are entire and obtuse. Lower surface is glaucous beneath.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Peeling
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    Light grey, shallowly furrowed and divided into flat narrow plates. Can become flakey with age.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Branch bark is light gray and smooth. Twigs are yellowish-brown to purplish brown and smooth with scattered white lenticels. Buds are are ovoid, blunt, up to 1/4" long, have imbricate scales, are reddigh-brown to brown, and are pubescent hairy near ends.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Fire
    Salt
    Problems:
    Messy
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Stomach pain, constipation and later bloody diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Gallotannins, quercitrin, and quercitin.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Seeds