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Quercus alba Linnaeus

Common 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.
Family: Fagaceae.

Brief description:
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.

USDA Profile

Herbarium sheet images:
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Live specimen 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 

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