White oak

Silhouette - white oak
  • Latin name: Quercus alba L.
  • French name: Chêne blanc
  • Synonym(s): Stave oak
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 19290
Description

Leaves

  • Leaf form - white oak
  • Leaf form - white oak
  • Leaf form - white oak

Form

  • 7–9 lobes
  • Rounded, narrow
  • Separated by deeply cut notches
  • Downy when unfolding, becoming hairless

Length

  • 10–20 cm

Width

  • Usually widest above the middle

Colour

  • Upper surface bright green
  • Lower surface pale green
  • Pinkish when unfolding

Autumn colour

  • Inconsistent
  • Orange to reddish-purple

Margin

  • Some leaves with 1 or 2 large blunt teeth

Buds

  • Lateral bud and leaf scar - white oak

Form

  • Terminal bud ovoid, blunt
  • Usually hairless
  • Not angled
  • Lateral buds diverge from the twig

Length

  • Terminal bud 3–5 mm

Colour

  • Reddish-brown

Twigs

  • Winter twig - white oak

Form

  • Moderately stout
  • Mostly hairless

Colour

  • Green to reddish-green when young, becoming red, then grey

Flowers

Form

  • Pollen flowers small
  • In many-flowered drooping catkins
  • Seed flowers small
  • Solitary or in few-flowered clusters (spikes)

Structure

  • Monoecious

Floral timing

  • With the leaves

Fruits

  • Acorn - white oak

Form

  • Acorns solitary or paired
  • Stalkless or short-stalked
  • Cup broadly bowl-shaped enclosing about one-quarter of the nut
  • Scales thickened, warty
  • Free at the tips but not forming a fringe to the cup

Length

  • Acorns 12–20 mm

Structure

  • 1-seeded nut

Bark

Form

  • Scaly

Colour

  • Pale grey, often with a reddish cast

Wood

Texture

  • Hard, strong, tough

Colour

  • Light brown

Size

Height

  • To 35 m

Diameter

  • To 120 cm

Maximum age

  • Several hundred years

Tree form

  • Silhouette - white oak

Forest-grown

Trunk

  • Distinct well into the crown
  • Often branch-free for two-thirds of its height

Open-grown

Crown

  • Sometimes composed of large branches
  • Many wide-spreading gnarled and twisted side branches

Root system

  • Deep, spreading, with a deep taproot

Habitat

Site

  • Variety of soils
  • Persists as an understory tree
  • Grows well in open stands

Light tolerance

  • Moderately shade-tolerant

Associated species

  • Other oaks, basswood, black cherry, hickories, sugar maple, white ash, eastern white pine, and eastern hemlock

Range

Broadleaf forests of southern Ontario and Quebec

Photos
  • White oak
  • White oak
  • White oak
  • White oak
Distribution map
Distribution map - white oak
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