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Home > Resources > North Carolina Trees > Black Oak

Black Oak

(Quercus velutina Lam)


Black oak may be found throughout the state on dry plains and ridges but seldom on rich ground. It often grows in upland hardwood stands in the Appalachian foothills.

Black oak leaves vary in form, generally with seven lobes (sometimes five), sometimes being divided nearly to the midrib by rounded sinuses. Lobes are toothed and usually taper from a broad base. In early spring, the unfolding leaves are a deep red, turning silvery, then green, within a few days.

The acorn is oval or rounded, 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, and is enclosed for about half its length in a deep, scaly, bowl-shaped cup. The tree reaches 50 to 80 feet in height, and 3 feet or more in diameter.

Bark on the trunks of old black oak trees usually is thick, black and deeply divided into broad, rounded ridges. The inner bark is bright orange or yellow; in all other oaks, it is pink. The crown usually is rounded.

The wood is hard, heavy, strong, coarse-grained and cracks easily. It is bright red-brown with a thin outer edge of paler sapwood. It is sold as red oak and used for the same purposes as red oak.

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