Black Oak Quercus velutina
Family: Fagaceae (Beech)
Branching: Alternate

Black Oak is commonly found on sandy soils, and not as far north as the similar Red Oak.  These two are often hard to differentiate, but Black Oak usually has more hairy buds and the furrows in the mature bark appear checkered near the base (the furrows in Red Oak do not really break horizontally and remain more or less "striped").  Northern Pin Oak can also look similar and apparently hybridizes with Black Oak.

Black Oak buds (clustered like all Oaks) are slightly downy

Another view of the end buds

Winter twig of Black Oak

Oak leaves often remain over winter

Young bark beginning to acquire the checkered appearance.

Mature bark becomes checkered compared to the similar Red Oak

Black Oak acorn.  The cap covers up to half of the entire nut, and the cap scales are fairly loose.

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copyright © 2008 Josh Sayers
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