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Quercus bicolor is often confused with:
Quercus rubra Quercus rubra
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Quercus nigra Form
Quercus stellata Quercus stellata, tree
Quercus phellos Quercus phellos

Quercus bicolor

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Quercus velutina
Phonetic Spelling
KWER-kus BY-kul-ur
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Swamp White Oak is a relatively large tree growing to be 80 feet tall with a long life span. The open rounded crown makes it a good shade tree for large areas. It produces a good acorn crop every 3 to 5 years that wildlife love to eat. Plant it in an area along a pond, a stream of other wet sites. It may require pruning of lower branches where height clearance is needed.

It is not tolerant of salt or air pollution but does tolerate wet sites. It prefers moist to wet acidic soil with a high mineral content but is adaptable to drier sites. Due to the root system, it is tolerant of areas that have spring flooding and fairly dry summers. Swamp White Oak is distinguished from all similar native species by its long-stalked acorns.

Swamp white oak is susceptible to various insect pests, fungi, cankers, and wilts but none are serious.  This tree is highly susceptible to oak wilt.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native tree#host plant#fall interest#street tree#black walnut#showy fruits#wet sites#food source#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#acorns#fire resistant#oak tree#Braham Arboretum#food source fall#wet soils tolerant#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#sun#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native tree#host plant#fall interest#street tree#black walnut#showy fruits#wet sites#food source#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#acorns#fire resistant#oak tree#Braham Arboretum#food source fall#wet soils tolerant#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Quercus
    Species:
    bicolor
    Family:
    Fagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The inner bark was used heavily in the leather tanning industry and it also produced an important yellow dye. Native Americans used it to treat a wide variety of ailments including indigestion, chills, fevers, respiratory problems, sore eyes, and more. It was also used as an antiseptic and an emetic (to induce vomiting). Native Americans and pioneers used the nuts for food. Roasted acorns have been ground and used as a coffee substitute. The wood is used in furniture but is not as valuable as white oak due to having more knots.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South East Canada to Northern Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Distribution:
    AL , CT , DC , DE , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV Canada: ON. Found from Minnesota down into Tennessee and over into North Carolina and South Carolina. It can also be found in New York and up into Canada.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    This tree is mildly resistant to damage by deer. The wildlife value is high. The acorns are eaten by woodpeckers, blue jays, small mammals, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and black bears. It is a host plant for the Banded Hairstreak, Edward's Hairstreak, Gray Hairstreak, White-M Hairstreak, Horace's Dustywing, and Juvenal's Duskywing butterflies. It attracts a wide range of insects which in turn feed the birds.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Wildlife Nesting
    Edibility:
    Acorns (nuts) are edible after tannins are leached or boiled out.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 50 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 50 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Open
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    1/2- to 3/4 in. shiny brown acorns are often in groups of 2-4 and have long stalks. The cap encloses 1/3–1/2 of the acorn and has grayish scales and fine hairs. Produces a good crop every 3 to 5 years. Matures in 1 to 2 years.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are in drooping, elongated clusters. Male flowers yellow-green, females green to red.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Velvety
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are 3-9" long and 2½-6" across. Because it hybridizes easily in the wild, there is variation in leaf shape and winter color. Margins can be moderate to deeply lobed with shallow rounded teeth or toothed in the distal half only. Undersides of the leaves are hairy and lighter green or white, especially on younger leaves, giving it an interesting effect in the wind. Winter color can be brown to yellows or reds. The leaves are broad and ovoid.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Peeling
    Ridges
    Scaly
    Smooth
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Rectangle
    Bark Description:
    Depending on the age of the tree the bark can be brown to grey in color. With age, it has a scaly appearance, rough with deep, vertical furrows and horizontal breaks, and may begin to peel. When young, the bark is smooth. The inner bark is yellow-orange and bitter tasting.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Cluster of terminal buds
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Description:
    Twigs are brown or gray, smooth, and covered with scattered white lenticels.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Fire
    Poor Soil
    Wet Soil
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Stomach pain, constipation and later bloody diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination if young leaves and raw acorns are eaten.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Gallotannins, quercitrin, and quercitin.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Leaves