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Oak Trees

Genus Quercus 

Oak tree species are characterized by their acorns, leaves, and bark type. 


bur oak There are two subgroups for oaks: red oaks and white oaks.  Red oaks have 
jagged leaves.  White oaks have smoother tipped leaves.  Oak trees flower in the spring before leaves appear, and large quantities of pollen are produced.  Oak leaves are very low in nutrients, but high in acid.  
Bur oak in white oak group  
red oak

White oak acorns mature the first year on the twigs, and the inner shell of the acorns (the nut, not the cups) are hairless. Red oak acorns mature over two years on the branchlets, and their inner shells are hairy.

In abundant years, a single oak tree may produce 2,000 to 7,000 acorns. Individual acorn trees may go several years producing only small quantities of acorns. Even though most acorns are very bitter, they are used for nuts, flour, and candy. Acorns are a staple in the diet of wild turkeys, squirrels, Blue Jays, and Eastern Chipmunks.

Northern red oak  




Author: Melissa Minter. October 2001.


© 2013 Anoka-Ramsey Community College - Biology Department.

The contents of this page have not been reviewed by ARCC.

Last Updated -July 28, 2016

Comments or Problems contact:

Melanie Waite-Altringer or Joan McKearnan or Terry Teppen