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
and Connecticut,--frequent.

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.

7. Fruit.

8. Variant leaf.

=Quercus palustris, Du Roi.=