Quercus alba – White Oak Tree
Botanical Name: Quercus alba
The White Oak tree is a large, stately deciduous tree. The growth habit is pyramidal as a juvenile, with the crown becoming wide spreading and rounded with age. It grows to a height of 50-80 feet tall with a spread of 50-80 feet.
This tree is the state tree of Illinois and native to much of the Eastern United States. It has long been used by indigenous people to make medicine to cure many medical conditions.
The grayish white bark gives the White Oak tree its name – the species name, alba, is Latin for white. Its flowers appear right after the leaves in mid to late spring, as inconspicuous, separate male and female catkins. They are greenish-yellow in color. The fruits are oval shaped acorns that grow up to 3/4 inch in size. The acorn cups are covered in warts or scales.
The leaves emerge bright green with a tinge of pink in the spring. They are large, classically lobed oak leaves and mature to a handsome dark green as the growing season progresses. Juvenile trees, in particular, will hold their bronze red fall color long into winter.
The White Oak tree can adapt to a range of soil types. It is also tolerant of dry soils, drought conditions, and sites with limited root space, making it ideal for planting as a street tree.