White Oak

=Habitat and Range.=--Light loams, sandy plains, and gravelly ridges,

often constituting extensive tracts of forest.

Quebec and Ontario.

Maine,--southern sections; New Hampshire,--most abundant eastward; in

the Connecticut valley confined to the hills in the immediate vicinity

of the river, extending up the tributary streams a short distance and

disappearing entirely before reaching the
mouth of the Passumpsic (W. F.

Flint); Vermont,--common west of the Green mountains, less so in the

southern Connecticut valley (Flora of Vermont, 1900); Massachusetts,

Rhode Island, and Connecticut,--common.

South to the Gulf of Mexico; west to Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas,

Arkansas, and Texas.

=Habit.=--A tree of the first rank, 50-75 feet high and 1-6 feet in

diameter above the swell of the roots, exhibiting considerable diversity

in general appearance, trunk sometimes dissolving into branches like the

American elm, and sometimes continuous to the top. The finest specimens

in open land are characterized by a rather short, massive trunk, with

stout, horizontal, far-reaching limbs, conspicuously gnarled and twisted

in old age, forming a wide-spreading, open head of striking grandeur,

the diameter at the base of which is sometimes two or three times the

height of the tree.

=Bark.=--Trunk and larger branches light ash-gray, sometimes nearly

white, broken into long, thin, loose, irregular, soft-looking flakes; in

old trees with broad, flat ridges; inner bark light; branchlets

ash-gray, mottled; young shoots grayish-green, roughened with minute

rounded, raised dots.

=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, round-ovate,

reddish-brown. Leaves simple, alternate, 3-7 inches long, 2-4 inches

wide, delicately reddish-tinted and pubescent upon both sides when

young; at maturity glabrous, light dull or glossy green above, paler and

somewhat glaucous beneath, turning to various reds in autumn; outline

obovate to oval; lobes 5-9; ascending, varying greatly in different

trees; when few, short and wide-based, with comparatively shallow

sinuses; when more in number, ovate-oblong, with deeper sinuses, or

somewhat linear-oblong, with sinuses reaching nearly to midrib; apex of

lobe rounded; base of leaf tapering; leafstalks short; stipules linear,

soon falling. The leaves of this species are often persistent till

spring, especially in young trees.

=Inflorescence.=--May. Appearing when the leaves are half grown; sterile

catkins 2-3 inches long, with slender, usually pubescent thread; calyx

yellow, pubescent; lobes 5-9, pointed: pistillate flowers sessile or

short-peduncled, reddish, ovate-scaled.

=Fruit.=--Maturing in the autumn of the first year, single, or more

frequently in pairs, sessile or peduncled: cup hemispherical to deep

saucer-shaped, rather thin; scales rough-knobby at base: acorn varying

from 1/2 inch to an inch in length, oblong-ovoid: meat sweet and edible,

said to be when boiled a good substitute for chestnuts.

=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy in New England; grows well in all except

very wet soils, in all open exposures and in light shade; like all oaks,

difficult to transplant unless prepared by frequent transplanting in

nurseries, from which it is not readily obtainable in quantity; grows

very slowly and nearly uniformly up to maturity; comparatively free

from insect enemies but occasionally disfigured by fungous disease which

attacks immature leaves in spring. Propagated from seed.

1. Winter buds.

2. Flowering branch.

3-4. Sterile flower, front view.

5. Fertile flower, side view.

6. Fruiting branch.

7-8. Variant leaves.

=Quercus stellata, Wang.=

Q. obtusiloba, Michx. Q. minor, Sarg.


=Habitat and Range.=

Doubtfully reported from southern Ontario.

In New England, mostly in sterile soil near the sea-coast;

Massachusetts,--southern Cape Cod from Falmouth to Brewster, the most

northern station reported, occasional; the islands of Naushon, Martha's

Vineyard where it is rather common, and Nantucket where it is rare;

Rhode Island,--along the shore of the northern arm of Wickford harbor

(L. W. Russell); Connecticut,--occasional along the shores of Long

Island sound west of New Haven.

South to Florida; west to Kansas, Indian territory, and Texas.

=Habit.=--Farther south, a tree of the first magnitude, reaching a

height of 100 feet, with a trunk diameter of 4 feet; in southern New

England occasionally attaining in woodlands a height of 50-60 feet; at

its northern limit in Massachusetts, usually 10 to 35 feet in height,

with a diameter at the ground of 6-12 inches. The trunk throws out

stout, tough, and often conspicuously crooked branches, the lower

horizontal or declining, forming a disproportionately large head, with

dark green, dense foliage. Near the shore the limbs often grow very low,

stretching along the ground as if from an underground stem.

=Bark.=--Resembling that of the white oak, but rather a darker gray,

rougher and firmer; upon old trunks furrowed and cut into oblongs; small

limbs brownish-gray, rough-dotted; season's shoots densely


=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds small, rounded or conical, brownish,

scales minutely pubescent or scurfy. Leaves simple, alternate, 3-8

inches long, two-thirds as wide, thickish, yellowish-green and tomentose

upon both sides when young, becoming a deep, somewhat glossy green

above, lighter beneath, both sides still somewhat scurfy; general

outline of leaf and of lobes, and number and shape of the latter,

extremely variable; type-form 5-lobed, all the lobes rounded, the three

upper lobes much larger, more or less subdivided, often squarish, the

two lower tapering to an acute, rounded, or truncate base; sinuses deep,

variable, often at right angles to the midrib; leafstalk short,

tomentose; stipules linear, pubescent, occasionally persistent till

midsummer. The leaves are often arranged at the tips of the branches in

star-shaped clusters, giving rise to the specific name stellata.

=Inflorescence.=--May. Sterile catkins 1-3 inches long, connecting

thread woolly; calyx 4-8 parted, lobes acute, densely pubescent, yellow;

stamens 4-8, anthers with scattered hairs: pistillate flowers single

or in clusters of 2, 3, or more, sessile or on a short stem; stigma red.

=Fruit.=--Maturing the first season, single and sessile, or nearly so,

or in clusters of 2, 3, or more, on short footstalks: cup top-shaped or

cup-shaped, 1/3-1/2 the length of the acorn, about 3/4 inch wide, thin;

scales smooth or sometimes hairy along the top, acutish or roundish,

slightly thickened at base: acorn 1/2-1 inch long, sweet.

=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy in New England; prefers a good,

well-drained, open soil; quite as slow-growing as the white oak; seldom

found in nurseries and difficult to transplant. Propagated from the


1. Winter buds.

2. Flowering branch.

3. Sterile flower, back view.

4. Sterile flower, front view.

5. Fertile flower.

6. Fruiting branch.

=Quercus macrocarpa, Michx.=