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Quercus velutina is often confused with:
Quercus rubra Full Form
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Quercus alba Full Form
Quercus montana Form
Quercus nigra Quercus nigra
Quercus velutina has some common insect problems:
Common Insect Pests of Oak in North Carolina
Quercus velutina has some common disease problems:
Common Disease Pests of Oak in North Carolina

Quercus velutina

Previously known as:

  • Quercus velutina var. missouriensis
Phonetic Spelling
KWER-kus ve-LU-ti-na
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Black oak is a native deciduous tree in the red oak group in the beech (Fagaceae) family found growing in eastern and central USA from Maine to Michigan south to Florida to Texas primarily on slopes of upland hills and ridges. The tree will grow 50-80 feet tall in the north and even taller in the southern ranges. Genus name comes from the Latin name for oak trees. The epithet (velutina) means velvety or hairy in reference to the fine hairs found on buds and young leaves. The common name comes from the bark color. The black oak is sometimes confused with the red oak and hybridization can occur between the two. 

Black oak at maturity has nearly black bark with yellow inner bark. Blooms occur in spring with male catkins and short female spikes. The green leaves are deeply to shallowly lobed and turn yellow-brown or a dull red in winter. The acorn is rounded and nearly covered by half with the cap. As is most oak trees, this tree has a high-value wildlife rating and supports butterflies and moths, birds and mammals. It can live up to 200 years of age.

This tree grows best in full sun and prefers moist slightly acidic well-drained fertile soil. However, it is adaptable to soil types including deep loam, clay, rocky material or sand in moist to dry conditions.  It is drought and poor soils tolerant.

Use this tree as a large shade tree, in parks and as a street tree. It is also useful in meadows, on slopes and other naturalized areas.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  The northern red oak has no serious insect or disease problems. It is susceptible to oak wilt and chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves while the veins remain green) which can occur when soil is not sufficiently acidic. Potential insect pests include carpenter worms, timber beetle, red oak borer, and chestnut borer. The most destructive is the gypsy moth that defoliates the trees. Nut weevils, filbert worms, and acorn moths cause damage to the acorns. 

VIDEO created by Ryan Contreras for “Landscape Plant Materials I:  Deciduous Hardwoods and Conifers or Landscape Plant Materials II:  Spring Flowering Trees and Shrubs” a plant identification course offered by the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#shade tree#drought tolerant#large tree#native tree#slopes#squirrel friendly#acorns#small and large mammals#edible fruits#naturalized area#parks#poor soils tolerant#bird friendly#problem for horses#medium size tree#full sun#long lived#wildlife friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#shade tree#drought tolerant#large tree#native tree#slopes#squirrel friendly#acorns#small and large mammals#edible fruits#naturalized area#parks#poor soils tolerant#bird friendly#problem for horses#medium size tree#full sun#long lived#wildlife friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Quercus
    Species:
    velutina
    Family:
    Fagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Wood is used for furniture and flooring. The acorn of oaks was an important food source for Native Americans. Some tribes are known to have used the bark as medicine for heart troubles and bronchial infections. It was also used as an astringent, disinfectant, and cleanser.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern and central USA
    Distribution:
    Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Rhode I., South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin
    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. The acorns are eaten by woodpeckers, blue jays small mammals, wild turkeys white-tailed deer and black bears.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    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. - 100 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 50 ft. 0 in. - 80 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Broad
    Erect
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    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:
    High Organic Matter
    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, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The acorn is 1/2 to 3/4 inches and rounded. The cap is loosely covered in scales with a short fringe formed at the lower rim. They cover about 1/2 of the acorn. Acorn production starts at age 20 years and they are reliably produced every 2-3 years.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Male flowers are yellowish in 4-6 inch long catkins. Female flowers are in short spikes of groups of 1-4. They are wind pollinated.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The green leaves are 3-9 inches long and 2.5 to 6 inches wide. They have 5-7 pointed lobes with short bristles at the tips. The sinuses are deeper in the sun that those leaves mostly in shade. Undersides are duller and paler in color. In some growing areas, the undersides have a short tuft of hairs at the base of major veins. In other areas, the underside may be covered in short whitish hairs. Fall color can be yellow-brown to dull red.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Black
    Dark Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Irregular
    Rectangle
    Bark Description:
    Mature outer bark is nearly black with a yellow inner bark. It is shallowly to moderately furrowed with irregular rectangular plates
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Only 1 terminal bud, larger than side buds
    Stem Bud Scales:
    No scales, covered in hair
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The branches are gray and smooth, while the twigs are gray to brown with white lenticels. The terminal buds are gray with hairs
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Recreational Play Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    English Garden
    Native Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Deer
    Drought
    Problems:
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Stomach pain, constipation and later bloody diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination if tannins aren't leached out or eaten in excess.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Gallotannins, quercitrin, and quercitin.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Seeds