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Swamp White Oak Quercus bicolor


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Swamp White Oak, leaves
credit: National Park Service

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Family: Fagaceae, Beech view all from this family

Description Quercus bicolor is a medium-sized tree of the north central and northeastern mixed forests. It has a very large range, and can survive in a variety of habitats. It grows rapidly and can reach 300 to 350 years. It is not a large tree, typically growing to 20-25m (65–80 ft) tall, with the tallest known reaching 29 m (95 ft).

It forms hybrids with Bur Oak where they occur together in the wild.

The bark resembles the White Oak. The leaves are broad ovoid, 12–18 cm (4–7 in) long and 7-11 (3–4 in) cm broad, always more or less glaucous on the underside, and are shallowly lobed with five to seven lobes on each side, intermediate between the Chestnut Oak and the White Oak. In autumn, they turn brown, yellow-brown, or sometimes reddish, but generally, the color is not as reliable or as brilliant as the White Oak can be. The fruit is a peduncled acorn, 1.5–2 cm (rarely 2.5 cm) (.6-.8 in, rarely 1 in) long and 1–2 cm (.4-.8 in) broad, maturing about 6 months after pollination.

The swamp white oak generally occurs singly in four different forest types: Black Ash-American Elm-Red Maple, Silver Maple-American Elm, Bur Oak, and Pin Oak-Sweetgum. The swamp white oak typically grows on hydromorphic soils. It is not found where flooding is permanent, although it is usually found in broad stream valleys, low-lying fields, and the margins of lakes, ponds, or sloughs.

Swamp white oak, a lowland tree, grows from southwestern Maine west to New York, southern Quebec, and southern Ontario, to central Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and southeastern Minnesota; south to Iowa and Missouri; east to Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and New Jersey. It is scattered in North Carolina and northeastern Kansas. This species is most common and reaches its largest size in western New York and northern Ohio.

Habitat Swamps (fresh & salt), Watersides (fresh).

Range Great Lakes, Plains, Eastern Canada, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Southeast.