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White Oak (quercus Alba)

Distinguishing characters: The massive ramification of its branches is

characteristic of this species and often an easy clue to its

identification. The *bark* has a *light gray color*--lighter than

that of the other oaks--and breaks into soft, loose flakes as in

Fig. 58. The *leaves are deeply lobed* as in Fig. 57. The *buds are

small, round and congested* at the end of the year's growth. The

acorns usually have no stalks and are set in shallow, rough cups.

The kernels of the acorns are white and palatable.

Form and size: The white oak grows into a large tree with a

wide-spreading, massive crown, dissolving into long, heavy, twisted

branches. When grown in the open it possesses a short sturdy trunk;

in the forest its trunk is tall and stout.

Range: Eastern North America.

Soil and location: The white oak thrives in almost any well-drained,

good, deep soil except in a very cold and wet soil. It requires

plenty of light and attains great age.

Enemies: The tree is comparatively free from insects and disease except

in districts where the Gipsy moth is common, in which case the

leaves of the white oak are a favorite food of its caterpillars.

Value for planting: The white oak is one of the most stately trees. Its

massive form and its longevity make the tree suitable for both lawn

and woodland planting but it is not used much because it is

difficult to transplant and grows rather slowly.

Commercial value: The wood is of great economic importance. It is heavy,

hard, strong and durable and is used in cooperage, construction

work, interior finish of buildings and for railroad ties, furniture,

agricultural implements and fuel.

Comparisons: The _swamp white oak_ (_Quercus platanoides_) is similar to

the white oak in general appearance of the bark and form and is

therefore liable to be confused with it. It differs from the white

oak, however, in possessing a more straggly habit and in the fact

that the bark on the under side of its branches shags in loose,

large scales. Its buds are smaller, lighter colored and more downy

and its acorns are more pointed and with cups more shallow than

those of the white oak. The tree also grows in moister ground,

generally bordering swamps.


Tree Studies

How To Identify Trees
Group I The Pines
The White Pine (pinus Strobus)
The Pitch Pine (pinus Rigida)
The Scotch Pine (pinus Sylvestris)
Group Ii The Spruce And Hemlock
The Norway Spruce (picea Excelsa)
Hemlock (tsuga Canadensis)
Group Iii The Red Cedar And Arbor-vitae
Red Cedar (juniperus Virginiana)
Arbor-vitae; Northern White Cedar (thuja Occidentalis)
Group Iv The Larch And Cypress
The European Larch (larix Europaea)
Bald Cypress (taxodium Distichum)
Group V The Horsechestnut, Ash And Maple
The Horsechestnut
The White Ash (fraxinus Americana)
Sugar Maple (acer Saccharum)
Silver Maple (acer Saccharinum)
Red Maple (acer Rubrum)
Norway Maple (acer Platanoides)
Box Elder (acer Negundo)
Group Vi Trees Told By Their Form: Elm, Poplar, Gingko And Willow
American Elm (ulmus Americana)
Lombardy Or Italian Poplar (populus Nigra, Var Italica)
Gingko Or Maidenhair Tree (gingko Biloba)
Weeping Willow (salix Babylonica)
Group Vii Trees Told By Their Bark Or Trunk: Sycamore, Birch, Beech,
Blue Beech, Ironwood, And Hackberry
The Sycamore Or Plane Tree (platanus Occidentalis)
Gray Or White Birch (betula Populifolia)
American Beech (fagus Americana)
Blue Beech Or Hornbeam (carpinus Caroliniana)
Hackberry (celtis Occidentalis)
Group Viii The Oaks And Chestnut
White Oak (quercus Alba)
Black Oak (quercus Velutina)
Red Oak (quercus Rubra)
Pin Oak (quercus Palustris)
Chestnut (castanea Dentata)
Group Ix The Hickories, Walnut And Butternut
Shagbark Hickory (hicoria Ovata)
Mockernut Hickory (hicoria Alba)
Black Walnut (juglans Nigra)
Group X Tulip Tree, Sweet Gum, Linden, Magnolia, Locust, Catalpa,
Dogwood, Mulberry And Osage Orange
Tulip Tree (liriodendron Tulipifera)
Sweet Gum (liquidambar Styraciflua)
American Linden (tilia Americana)
The Magnolias