Cherrybark Oak

Illustration of cherrybark oak leaf.
Scientific Name
Quercus pagoda
Fagaceae (oaks)

Cherrybark oak is a medium to large tree with a straight, branch-free trunk and an open, rounded crown.

Leaves are 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 is gray to black with scaly, narrow ridges similar to the bark of black cherry.

Twigs are 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.
Where To Find
image of Cherrybark Oak distribution map
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.
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.
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).
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.
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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Where to See Species

Duck Creek Conservation Area is located nine miles north of Puxico on Highway 51 in Stoddard, Bollinger and Wayne counties.The Missouri Department of Conservation purchased the land for the area in 19
About Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines in Missouri
There are no sharp dividing lines between trees, shrubs, and woody vines, or even between woody and nonwoody plants. “Wood” is a type of tissue made of cellulose and lignin that many plants develop as they mature — whether they are “woody” or not. Trees are woody plants over 13 feet tall with a single trunk. Shrubs are less than 13 feet tall, with multiple stems. Vines require support or else sprawl over the ground.