Wild Guide

By |
From Missouri Conservationist: September 2020

White Oak | Quercus alba




to 120 feet



With more than 20 species of oaks in Missouri, white oak is the banner species for a large subset of native oaks called “the white oak group.” Other subsets are called “the black oak group” and the “the red oak group.” White oak is one of the most attractive, long-lived shade trees in Missouri, surviving over 300 years. These large trees with long, straight trunks and broad, rounded crowns are found in a wide variety of forests, woodlands, and savanna natural communities throughout the state. The bark is light gray and the leaves are lobed, measuring 5 to 9 inches long.

Ecosystem Connections

White oaks produce acorns, which ripen from September through October. Acorns are an important food for blue jays, woodpeckers, wood ducks, wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, northern bobwhites, mice, squirrels, raccoons, and deer. In addition, these large, strong trees provide nesting space for many birds and mammals, and a sturdy structure for vines and other smaller plants to climb on.

Did You Know?

Native Americans used ground acorns to make bread and the bark for medicinal purposes. Once used in ship construction, white oak wood is now used for whiskey and wine barrels, general construction, cabinets, and more. In fact, it is second in value to walnut.

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler