Quercus alba Linnaeus
Fagaceae (Beech) Family
White Oak is the classic eastern oak, with wide spreading branches and a rounded crown, the trunk irregularly divided into spreading, often horizontal, stout branches. Its height is usually between 80 and 100 feet and the trunk is 3 to 4 feet in diameter. White Oak is the most important lumber tree of the white oak group, its high-grade wood is useful for all purposes. Called "Stave Oak" because the wood is outstanding for making tight barrels for whiskey and other liquids. In colonial times the wood was important in shipbuilding. Its preferred habitat is moist well-drained uplands and lowlands, often in pure stands.
The leaves of White Oak are extremely variable, measuring 5 to 9 inches long and about one half as broad. They are usually obovate in outline with 7 to 9 shallow sinuses and broad lobes, while others will have deep sinuses and long and narrow lobes. The leaves are entirely smooth, bright green above, and usually somewhat whitened beneath.
The fruit (acorns) are sessile or short stalked; ovoid, light brown, shiny nuts that measure about 3/4 inch long and enclosed for about 1/4 of their length by the bowl-shaped cups. The fruit is sweet and edible.
The wood of White Oak is very heavy, hard, strong, tough, and close-grained; a very high grade, all-purpose wood. It is one of the best woods known for tight cooperage, and one of the finest for furniture and hardwod flooring. Other uses are for ship building, the manufacturing of wagons and agricultural implements, railroad ties, posts, and for fuel.