Barren Oak - aka Dwarf Blackjack Oak
-A Hybrid -
Quercus x Sterilis (Q. nigra × marilandica)
- Trel
Fagaceae (Beech) Family


Barren Oak grows in the following 25 states and provinces: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and is commonly known as Dwarf Blackjack Oak, Black Oak, Blackjack Oak, Jack Oak as well as Scrub Oak. The currently accepted scientific name of blackjack oak is Quercus marilandica (Muenchh.)

The Dwarf Blackjack Oak has leaves that are identical to the Blackjack Oak except the leaves are about half the size of Blackjack Oak and the tree is generally no more than 10-15 feet tall.

The Barren Oak has been placed within the subgenus Erythrobalanus, or red (black) oak group . There are no recognized subspecies, varieties, or forms. Blackjack oak hybridizes with the following species : x Q. falcata (southern red oak) x Q. geogiana (Georgia oak): Q. X smallii x Q. ilicifolia (bear oak): Q. X brittonii x Q. imbricaria (shingle oak): Q. X tridentata), Engelm. x Q. incana (bluejack oak): Q. X cravenensis, Little x Q. nigra (water oak): Q. X sterilis x Q. phellos (willow oak): Q. X rudkinii,Britton x Q. rubra (northern red oak) x Q. shumardii (Shumard oak): Q. X hastingsii, Sarg. x Q. velutina (black oak): Q. X bushii Sarg. x Q. laurifolia (laurel oak): Q. X diversiloba Tharp ex A. Camus.


Dwarf Blackjack oak occurs as a dominant tree in forests adjacent to grasslands. It forms mixed stands with post oak (Quercus stellata) in the prairie transition area of central Oklahoma and Texas, where the eastern deciduous forests grade into the drier western grasslands . Blackjack oak shares dominance with bluejack oak and sand post oak (Q. stellata var. margaretta) on the slightly more mesic midslopes of sandhills, downslope from the xeric ridges that support turkey oak (Q. laevis) . The Pine Plains of New Jersey are characterized by a community of dwarfed blackjack oak, bear oak, and pitch pine (Pinus rigida) . The following published classifications list blackjack oak as a dominant or co-dominant species: In eastern deciduous forest The natural communities of South Carolina Forest vegetation of the lower Alabama Piedmont Forest vegetation of the Big thicket, southeast Texas The natural forests of Maryland.

Some of the information provided here is attributed to: Carey, Jennifer H. 1992. Quercus marilandica. In: Fire Effects Information System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.

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