<< Back to Campus Plants

White Oak

Quercus alba, is the botanical name of white oak. Specimens are known to have lived over 600 years. Although called the white oak, it is very unusual to find an individual specimen with white bark; the usual color is a light gray. In the forest it reaches a magnificent height. In the open it develops into a massive broad-topped tree with great limbs striking out at wide angles.

Normally not a very tall tree, typically 65–85 feet (19.5-25.5 m) tall at maturity, it nonetheless becomes quite massive and its lower branches are apt to reach far out laterally parallel to the ground. White oaks have been known to live up to eight hundred years. The

                                                                                                                 Quercus alba

bark is a light ash-gray and somewhat peeling, variously from the top, bottom and/or sides.

In spring the young leaves are exquisite in their delicate silvery pink, covered with soft down as with a blanket. The petioles are short, and the leaves which cluster close to the ends of the shoots are pale green and downy with the result that the entire tree has a misty, frosty look which is very beautiful.

The leaves grow to 5-8.5 in long and 2.75-4.5 in broad, with a deep glossy green upper surface. The leaves usually turn red or brown in fall, but depending on climate, site, and individual tree genetics, some trees are nearly always red, or even purple in autumn, others turn straight to a brown.



            Quercus alba