names: white oak, eastern white oak, northern white oak.
Synonyms: Quercus alba Linnaeus var. subcaerulea
A.L. & M.C. Pickens, Quercus alba Linnaeus var. subflavea
A.L. & M.C. Pickens.
White oak is a common and characteristic oak of much of the Piedmont.
Slow growing and moderately tolerant of forest competition, it is
a dominant of older forests. Oak leaves can be very variable, even
on one tree. White oak leaves in particular vary from the shallowly
(the "shade leaves") to deeply (the "sun leaves")
lobed. They turn a pastel pinkish-red to deep red in autumn. Oaks
are wind pollinated--and so the flowers are inconspicuous. Not so
the oak fruit--the acorn. White oak acorns are an important food source
for wildlife and birds and were used (after boiling) as a staple in
Native American diets. White oak wood, hard and durable, has been
valued for centuries. Early ships (including the gun decks of Old
Ironsides, the USS Constitution) made great use of white oak and it
was the best wood for wooden barrels. White oak achieves great age--certainly
in excess of 400 years and famous oak trees marked important historic
events (including activities of William Penn, George Washington, and
Thomas Jefferson) and survive today.
• 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 •