Common Trees of the North Carolina Piedmont

Stephen M. Seiberling, Alan S. Weakley, and Peter S. White

Quercus alba L. White oak, eastern white oak, northern white oak. Family Fagaceae. ITIS Taxonomic Serial Number 19290. USDA PLANTS Symbol QUAL. TROPICOS # 13100028.

Images • Branchlet with leaves. • Individual leaf 1. • Individual leaf 2. • Individual leaf 3. • Individual leaf 4. • Individual leaf 5. • Branchlet with buds. • Close-up of buds. • Branchlet with staminate flowers. • Close-up of fruits. • Herbarium sheet 1. • Herbarium sheet 2. • Herbarium sheet 3. • Herbarium sheet 4. • Herbarium sheet 5.

Detailed Description:

Plant habit and life style. Plants Angiosperms, monoecious, (15–)20–35(–40) m tall.

Stems. Pith continuous. Young twigs (1-year-old or less) green or purple or red, 2–3(–4) mm wide, glabrous or glabrate or pubescent. Twigs (2–4 years old) glabrous. Leaf scars half-round, bundle scars numerous, stipule scars inconspicuous, stipule scars not circumferential. Bark of mature trunks exfoliating or flaky or furrowed or plated or ridged.

Buds. Buds axillary or terminal, bud clusters at ends of twigs present, reddish-brown, 3–5(–6) mm long, ellipsoid or globose or ovoid, blunt, glabrous or glabrate, bud scales imbricate.

Leaves. Leaves deciduous, simple, petiolate, alternate or spiral, (7–)12–18(–25) cm long, (4–)7–11(–17) cm wide, elliptic or obovate or ovate, leaf margins entire, leaf margins plane or undulate, shallowly lobed or moderately lobed or deeply lobed or divided, pinnately lobed, leaf lobes (4–)6–8(–11) per leaf, leaf apices acute or rounded, leaf bases cuneate. Leaf upper surface green, glabrous or glabrate, puberulent. Leaf lower surface green or silver or white, glabrous or glabrate or pubescent or with tufts in vein axils, puberulent. Leaf venation pinnate, secondary veins on either side of the midvein (3–)5–7. Petioles (0.4–)1–2.5(–3) cm long, glabrous. Stipules present, caducous, scarious, not circumferential.

Flowers. Flowering April or May or June. Inflorescences axillary, catkins or flowers solitary or spikes, flowers sessile. Flowers unisexual, epigynous. Perianth. Calyx radially symmetric, synsepalous. Sepals (2–)6(–8) per flower, red or yellow, sepal apices acute, caducous. Corolla absent. Androecium. Stamens (2–)6(–12) per flower, separate. Gynoecium. Ovaries inferior, pistils 1 per flower. Gynoecium syncarpous, 3 carpels per flower, styles 3 per pistil, placentation axile. Other floral features. Hypanthia present, involucres present.

Fruits. Fruits accessory fruits or acorns or nuts, (1–)1.5–2.5(–3.5) cm long, brown or reddish-brown, fruit maturation 1 years.

Habitat. Habitat bottomland forests or dry-mesic upland forests or mesic upland forests or mixed forest edges or suburban plantings.

Special Diagnostic Characters. Staminate flowers in pendent catkins, pistillate flowers solitary or in few- to many-flowered spikes; pistillate flowers enclosed by a scaly involucre which develops into the acorn cup.

Cite this publication as: ‘Stephen M. Seiberling, Alan S. Weakley, and Peter S. White (2005 onwards). Common Trees of the North Carolina Piedmont: Identification, Descriptions, Illustrations, and Glossary. Version: March 7, 2006. <>’.

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