Black Oak Yellow Oak
=Habitat and Range.=--Poor soils; dry or gravelly uplands; rocky ridges.
Southern and western Ontario.
Maine,--York county; New Hampshire,--valley of the lower Merrimac and
eastward, absent on the highlands, reappearing within three or four
miles of the Connecticut, ceasing at North Charlestown;
Vermont,--western and southeastern sections; Massachusetts,--abundant
eastward; Rhode Island
South to the Gulf states; west to Minnesota, Kansas, Indian
territory, and Texas.
=Habit.=--One of our largest oaks, 50-75 feet high and 2-4 feet in
diameter, exceptionally much larger, attaining its maximum in the Ohio
and Mississippi basins; resembling Q. coccinea in the general
disposition of its mostly stouter branches; head wide-spreading,
rounded; trunk short; foliage deep shining green, turning yellowish or
reddish brown in autumn.
=Bark.=--Bark of trunk dark gray or blackish, often lighter near the
seashore, thick, usually rough near the ground even in young trees, in
old trees deeply furrowed, separating into narrow, thick, and firmly
adherent block-like strips; inner bark thick, yellow, and bitter;
branches and branchlets a nearly uniform, mottled gray; season's shoots
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds 1/8-1/4 inch long, bluntish to pointed,
conspicuously clustered at ends of branches. Leaves simple, alternate,
of two forms so distinct as to suggest different species, a (Plate
XLV, 8) varying towards b (Plate XLV, 6), and b often scarcely
distinguishable from the leaf of the scarlet oak; in both forms outline
obovate to oval, lobes usually 7, densely woolly when opening, more or
less pubescent or scurfy till midsummer or later, dark shining green
above, lighter beneath, becoming brown or dull red in autumn.
Form a, sinuses shallow, lobes broad, rounded, mucronate.
Form b, sinuses deep, extending halfway to the midrib or farther,
oblong or triangular, bristle-tipped.
=Inflorescence.=--Early in May. Appearing when the leaves are half
grown; sterile catkins 2-5 inches long, with slender, pubescent threads;
calyx usually 3-4-lobed; lobes ovate, acute to rounded, hairy-pubescent;
stamens 3-7, commonly 4-5; anthers yellow: pistillate flowers reddish,
pubescent, at first nearly sessile; stigmas 3, red, divergent,
=Fruit.=--Maturing the second year; nearly sessile or on short
footstalks: cup top-shaped to hemispherical; scales less firm than in
Q. coccinea, tips papery and transversely rugulose, obtuse or rounded,
or some of them acutish, often lacerate-edged, loose towards the thick
and open edge of the cup: acorn small: kernel yellow within and bitter.
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; grows in
well-drained soils, but prefers a rich, moist loam; of vigorous and
rapid growth when young, but as it soon begins to show dead branches and
becomes unsightly, it is not a desirable tree to plant, and is rarely
offered by nurserymen. Propagated from seed.
=Note.=--Apparently runs into Q. coccinea, from which it may be
distinguished by its rougher and darker trunk, the yellow color and
bitter taste of the inner bark, its somewhat larger and more pointed
buds, the greater pubescence of its inflorescence, young shoots and
leaves, the longer continuance of scurf or pubescence upon the leaves,
the yellow or dull red shades of the autumn foliage, and by the yellow
color and bitter taste of the nut.
1. Winter buds.
2. Flowering branch.
3. Sterile flower, 4-lobed calyx.
4. Sterile flower, 3-lobed calyx.
5. Fertile flower.
6. Fruiting branch.
8. Variant leaf.
=Quercus palustris, Du Roi.=