Trees of Wisconsin
Quercus alba L.
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.