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White Oak – Quercus Alba

White Oak is one of the most common hardwoods in eastern North America. It is a large tree (80 to 150 feet tall; 3 to 5 feet in trunk diameter), and is long-lived; specimens have been documented to be over 450 years old. In the forest, this tree reaches great heights; in the open, it grows into a massive broad-topped tree with large branches forming wide angles. Its leaves are alternate, simple, deciduous, and and deeply 7-to-9- lobed with rounded sinuses and rounded lobes. Unisexual flowers appear with the leaves in May. The fruit is an acorn, appears solitary or in pairs, light brown, the nut 3/4″ long, enclosed by a bowl-shaped cup. Bark is light gray; on young trees, it is broken into scaly rectangles, but with maturity becomes thicker and divided into ridges separated by shallow fissures. Although it is called white oak, it is unusual to find a specimen with white bark.

Native to the Eastern United States, this tree tolerates a variety of habitats, but thrives in moist, rich soil usually in admixture with other species. It makes a good shade tree, but does not tolerate the soil compaction of urban conditions. and is the most important timber species among the oaks, valued for its density and used for furniture, agricultural implements, tools, barrels, and interior finishing in houses.

 

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