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Plant Families / Quercus - Oaks


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Quercus - Oaks

Long-lived and trouble-free, Quercus (Oaks) can be deciduous or evergreen trees or shrubs noted for their lobed or toothed leaves, massive trunks and limbs and majestic silhouettes. The deciduous species often display brilliant fall color. One of the most distinguishing features of oak trees is their acorns, which are a valuable source of food for small mammals and birds. Handsome, stately and adaptable, oaks are excellent specimen trees.

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Quercus acutissima (Sawtooth Oak)

Quercus acutissima (Sawtooth Oak) is a large deciduous tree adorned with an open, broad-spreading, rounded crown. The foliage of chestnut-like, lustrous dark green leaves with bristle-toothed, slightly wavy edges, turns yellow to golden brown in the fall.

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Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak)

A beautiful California native, Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak) is a large evergreen tree adorned with a short, stout trunk and a dense, broadly rounded crown. Its crooked, spreading branches are clothed with leathery, oval, convex, holly-like, dark green leaves.

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Quercus alba (White Oak)

Regarded by many as the most noble American oak, Quercus alba (White Oak) is a large deciduous tree of pyramidal habit in youth, becoming oval-rounded to rounded with age. The foliage of 7-9 rounded lobes emerges pink in spring, matures to dark green and turns a good russet-red in the fall.

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Quercus cerris (Turkey Oak)

Fast-growing, Quercus cerris (Turkey Oak) is a large, spreading deciduous tree of broad pyramidal habit. The foliage of narrow, oblong, lustrous dark green leaves, 5 in. long (12 cm), has deep, pointed lobes and turns yellow to gold in late fall. Inconspicuous yellow-green catkins appear in spring as the leaves emerge.

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Quercus coccinea (Scarlet Oak)

Noted for its brilliant fall color, Quercus coccinea (Scarlet Oak) is a large deciduous tree of pyramidal habit in youth, becoming upright-spreading and open with age. The foliage of large, lustrous, dark green leaves, adorned with 7-9 lobes, turns brilliant reds and scarlets in the fall. The magnificent fall color display may last 3-4 weeks. Inconspicuous yellow-green catkins appear in spring as the new leaves unfurl with a red hue. Prized for its spectacular fall color, poor soil tolerance, wind resistance, Scarlet Oak is a very popular landscape choice.

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Quercus hemisphaerica (Laurel Oak)

Adding a great presence to the landscape, Quercus hemisphaerica (Laurel Oak) is a medium to large, semi-evergreen tree (or tardily deciduous) of pyramidal habit in youth, becoming more rounded with age. The leaves, up to 4 in. long (10 cm), are shiny, leathery, with smooth margins or edges.

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Quercus ilex (Holm Oak)

Quercus ilex (Holm Oak) is a large evergreen tree adorned with a massive, rounded crown, often with a prominent umbrella form. The leathery leaves, 3 in. long (7 cm), are shiny dark green on top, covered with gray or yellow hairs beneath. Spiny-edged when young (resembling holly leaves), they become smooth-edged with age.

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Quercus imbricaria (Shingle Oak)

Quercus imbricaria (Shingle Oak) is a large deciduous tree of pyramidal habit in youth, eventually becoming rounded to broad-rounded with age. The foliage of narrow, oblong, lustrous dark green leaves is unlobed and turns yellow-brown to russet-red in the fall. Emerging tinged-red in spring, the leaves tend to persist throughout most of the winter, rustling as they are blown up into the air by a sudden gust of wind.

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Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak)

Majestic, Quercus macrocarpa (Bur Oak) is a large deciduous tree adorned with a very wide, open crown. The foliage of leathery, dark green, 5-9 lobed leaves, 12 in. long (30 cm), turns yellow to golden brown in the fall.

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Quercus palustris (Pink Oak)

One of the easiest oaks to grow and transplant, Quercus palustris (Pink Oak) is a fast-growing, large deciduous tree adorned with a dense, pyramidal crown. Its lower branches are pendulous, the middle branches are horizontal and the upper branches are upright. This distinctive branching pattern can be admired in winter when its naked silhouette graces the landscape. The foliage of deeply cut, lustrous dark green leaves, adorned with 5-7 sharply pointed lobes, turns russet-red to bright crimson in the fall.

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Quercus phellos (Willow Oak)

A handsome and popular shade tree, Quercus phellos (Willow Oak) is a medium to large, deciduous tree with a straight trunk and an oval to rounded crown with upswept branches. It is noted for its long, fine-textured, willow-like leaves, up to 5 in. long (12 cm). Bright green in summer, the foliage turns yellow or russet in the fall.

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Quercus pubescens (Downy Oak)

A favored species for the production of truffles, Quercus pubescens (Downy Oak) is a medium sized deciduous or semi-deciduous tree with a broad and irregular open-rounded crown and twisted branches. The egg-shaped or elliptical leaves, up to 5 in. long (12 cm), are divided into 3-7 pairs of deep or shallow lobes, which are usually divided into a few sublobes.

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Quercus robur (English Oak)

Long-lived and majestic, Quercus robur (English oak) is a large deciduous tree adorned with a magnificent, broad-spreading crown. The foliage of 3-7 lobed, rich blue-green leaves turns reddish-brown in the fall. Inconspicuous yellow-green catkins appear in spring as the leaves emerge. The short trunk and upright branches, with their ridged and furrowed dark gray bark, provide architectural elegance and winter interest. Its oval acorns are a valuable source of food for small mammals and birds, but English Oak may take up to 20 years before the first crop of acorns is produced.

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Quercus rubra (Red Oak)

Noted for its brilliant fall color, Quercus rubra (Red Oak) is a fast-growing, large deciduous tree adorned with an open, rounded to broad-spreading crown. The foliage of broad, lustrous dark green leaves, adorned with 7-11 toothed lobes, turns russet-red to bright red in the fall. Inconspicuous yellow-green catkins appear in spring as the leaves unfurl. Emerging a dusty bronze-red color, the spring foliage creates an effect as beautiful as any spring-flowering trees. Reminiscent of ski trails, the branches and upper trunk are marked with long, pale gray longitudinal lines.

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Quercus shumardii (Shumard Oak)

Relatively fast-growing and adaptable, Quercus shumardii (Shumard Oak) is a medium-sized, deciduous tree of pyramidal habit in youth, becoming upright-spreading and open with age.

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