* Leaves moderately lobed. Lobes
sharply pointed, hairy beneath and glossy above. 4-10". Red oak leaves
are similar but smooth beneath.
* Twigs hairless, but buds covered in gray hairs.
* Acorn cups gray-hairy, bowl-shaped, with rough edges and fringe-like
scales, covering half of the elliptical acorn.
* Bark dark, not shiny, with a block pattern. When scratched, the bark
of the twigs is yellow or orange.
* Height: 70-80'.
* Habitat: Woods, dry to mesic soils.
* Range: Southeastern Canada and northeastern United States.
* "Tall oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stars,
Dream, and so dream all night without a stir."
-John Keats, 1795-1821
* Oak wood is prized for firewood because it burns slowly, cleanly,
and hot. It also resists rot, making it popular with fence-builders.
In fact, our own Abe Lincoln probably split many oaks into fence
* Before the production of modern dyes, weavers and tanners
produced a yellow dye from the bark of black oak. In the following
excerpt from his essay Walking, published in Atlantic
Magazine in 1862, Henry David Thoreau describes the "tanning" of
human minds that results when man lives among wilderness trees:
"To preserve wild animals implies generally the creation of a forest for them
to dwell in or resort to. So it is with man. A hundred yeras ago they sold bark
in our streets peeled from our own woods. In the very aspect of those primitive
and rugged trees there was, methinks, a tanning principle which hardened and
consolidated the fibres of men's thoughts."
* It is difficult to distinguish between black and red oaks;
check out the red oak page for some
tips on telling these majestic tree apart!