Trees of Wisconsin

Quercus alba L.
white oak
Family: Fagaceae
tree branch leaves fruit bud bark
Quercus alba can be recognized by the blunt lobes of its leaves, with several or all sinuses deeply cut. Leaves of Quercus macrocarpa are also blunt-lobed, but they are are usually more shallowly lobed, except for one deep pair of sinuses in the lower portion. Quercus bicolor leaves are all shallowly lobed. The other three common oaks have sharp-pointed lobes. Click here to compare the leaves of our 6 commonest species of oaks (but be warned that there is considerable variation in each species). The short stalks (peduncles) of the acorns of Q. alba will distinguish them from Q. bicolor and the acorns of Q. alba lack the conspicuous fringe along the rim of the acorn cap of Q. macrocarpa.

Quercus alba ranges widely in the eastern U.S., from New England to Georgia and west to eastern Texas and southeastern Minnesota. In Wisconsin it is most common in the southern half of the state, uncommon in the upper third and absent from the northernmost counties. It does not tolerate shade well and will not reproduce under even moderate forest canopy, but is long-lived and can persist in forests that grow up around it.

known Wisconsin distribution


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