Cherrybark Oak

Quercus pagoda
Fagaceae (oaks)

A medium to large tree with a straight, branch0free trunk and an open, rounded crown.

Leaves alternate, simple, 6–7 inches long; margin with 5–11 lobes; top of lobes at right angles to the central vein, fairly evenly spaced and uniform in size, bristle-tipped, notches between lobes shallow; shiny dark green above, pale and with whitish, yellowish or grayish hairiness below. Leaf stalks often flattened. Leaves often have a drooping appearance. Turn reddish-brown in fall.

Bark gray to black with scaly, narrow ridges similar to the bark of black cherry.

Twigs moderately stout, slightly grooved, dark red, smooth.

Flowers April–May, in catkins.

Fruits September–October, acorns single or in pairs; nut light brown, broadest at the base and rounded at the top, ½ inch wide and long, cup covering a third of the nut, shallow; scales reddish-brown with a dark border, flattened, hairy; seed bitter; ripen in autumn of second year.

Height: to 100 feet.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs in bottomland forests of southeast Missouri. It prefers rich, well-drained bottomland soils. It is among the largest of the southern oaks. This species is not commonly available for sale but is native to southeast Missouri. In central Missouri and farther north, winter damage is possible, but this is an excellent oak for southern areas. It can endure poor, dry soils.
Distribution in Missouri: 
In Missouri, this tree grows wild only in our far southeastern counties. The home range of this species is mostly south and east of Missouri, to Virginia, Florida and Texas.
Formerly considered a variety of southern red oak called Quercus falcata pagodafolia. It prefers wetter sites than southern red oak and attains a larger, statelier size. Other differences include the shape of the leaf notches (V-shaped in cherrybark, U-shaped in southern red oak); and the symmetry of the leaves (cherrybark oak leaves are more symmetrical). The bark in mature trees is another big difference (that of southern red oak is broken into deep grooves and ridges and is not scaly).
Human connections: 
An excellent, large shade tree for landscaping. Its wood is rated superior to any of the other oaks in the southern United States and is used for pulp, fuel, veneer, cabinets, furniture, crates and boxes. This tree has several historic medicinal uses among Native Americans.
Ecosystem connections: 
The acorns are eaten by many species of birds and mammals, as well as by many insects. Cherrybark oak, like all big trees, offers important cover, nesting and den habitat both when it is alive and after it has died. Hundreds of plants require the shady habitat created by the forest canopy.
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