Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

White oak bark and leaves

Quercus alba, foliage and trunk


Quercus alba bark and leavesOne of the most helpful tree-identification things I've learned lately is that the sinuses of oak leaves at the top of the tree will be more deeply cut than those at the bottom of the tree. (Sinuses are the indentations between the lobes.) Apparently, a leaf that is getting plenty of sunshine doesn't need as much surface area as a leaf that is growing in the shade.

The white oak leaves in the image above are a good example. The leaves at the top of the tree (in the background at the top of the photo) have much deeper sinuses than those at the bottom of the tree (foreground.)

Bark of quercus albaWhite oak bark is quite distinctive in color. It's actually a light gray, not white, but it's lighter in color than many tree barks. It's often a bit scaly. You can see some scales on the trunk in the above photo at upper left.

Recently, I happened to find a great image of white oak leaves and acorns from the early 1900s in the Kentucky Virtual Library. Its caption mentions that they came from "a monster white oak near Persimmon." Persimmon is a small settlement in Monroe County, Kentucky (north of Tompkinsville, in south central Kentucky.)

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Enrich your life with the study of trees.

"The power to recognize trees at a glance without examining their leaves or flowers or fruit as they are seen, for example, from the car-window during a railroad journey, can only be acquired by studying them as they grow under all possible conditions over wide areas of territory. Such an attainment may not have much practical value, but once acquired it gives to the possessor a good deal of pleasure which is denied to less fortunate travelers."

Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927)

Print references I frequently consult

Benvie, Sam. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Ed. Herbert S. Zim. New York: Golden, 1986.

Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980.

Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. Knowing Your Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978.

Dirr, Michael. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portland, Or.: Timber, 1997.

Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980.

Grimm, William Carey. The Book of Trees;. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962.

Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. New York: Chanticleer, 1996.

Martin, Alexander C., Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife and Plants. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951.

Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. The Trees of North America. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987.

Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969.

Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. Trees of Missouri. Columbia: University Extension, 1995.

Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Portland: Timber, 2004.

Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973.

Wyman, Donald. Trees for American Gardens. New York: Macmillan, 1965.

Photos and text copyright © 2006-2010 by Genevieve L. Netz. All rights reserved. Do not republish without written permission. My e-mail address is gnetz51@gmail.com