White Oak Varieties: Spot Them Around You!
The oak tree family Fagaceae, is known for offering hundreds of magnificent trees. There are around 500 different varieties of oak trees across the globe that are admired for their ornamental appeal.
The white tree varieties are one such species with remarkable strength and longevity. As their name suggests, their barks are white with varied patterns like rigid, plated, or scaly.
In summer the upright and dense branches of these giant trees offer cool shade. The white oak trees cater to wildlife by producing acorns. They have smooth and rounded leaves which dazzle everyone with their stunning color over different seasons.
Whether you are looking to plant a beautiful white oak in your garden or want to learn about the various types of white oak, keep reading!
- Sessile Oak (Quercus Petraea)
- Oregon Oak (Quercus Garryana)
- Valley Oak (Quercus Lobata)
- Mexican White Oak (Quercus Polymorpha)
- Pedunculate Oak (Quercus Robur)
- White Oak (Quercus Alba)
- Oriental White Oak (Quercus Aliena)
- Swamp White Oak (Quercus Bicolor)
- Arizona White Oak (Quercus Arizonica)
White Oak Snapshot
|Scientific name||Quercus alba|
|Type of plant||Deciduous|
|Native area||Eastern United States|
|Sun preference||Full sun and partial shade|
|Mature size||60 – 100’ tall and 50-80’ wide|
|Soil type||Moist, loamy, well-drained|
|Hardiness Zones||USDA 3 – 9|
How Many Kinds of White Oak Trees Are There?
If you are looking to spruce up your garden, check out the lovely white oak varieties. Here we have listed some of the most popular white oaks found across the world.
1. Sessile Oak (Quercus Petraea)
This white oak type is highly popular as Durmast oak or Cornish oak. It is the national tree of Ireland. It is most commonly found in many parts of Europe, Iran, and Anatolia.
Sessile oak is a hardwood tree with long-stalked leaves. It is also known for producing acorns having no stalks. With an upright posture, this tree blooms yellow and green flowers.
In most European regions the sessile oak is important in terms of ecology and economy. Its timber is used for making luxurious ships, furniture, veneers, cabinet building, and plank flooring.
2. Oregon Oak (Quercus Garryana)
Quercus Garryana, commonly known as Oregon oak is one of the most attractive types of white oak. In Canada, it is known as Garry oak, whereas in the United States it is called the Oregon oak.
This deciduous hardwood tree is found in the areas starting from South California to South-west British Columbia. The giant tree has wide-rounded crowns with divided trunks. It has clear stems with small and upright branches.
Being a long-lived tree, Oregon white oak can live up to 500 years. On reaching the mature state, these trees can reach a height of 50 – 90’ and spread about 24 – 40’’ in diameter.
3. Valley Oak (Quercus Lobata)
If you are looking for fast-growing and beautiful oak trees, then go for Valley oak trees. These trees are highly adaptable to different kinds of soils and resistant to drought. Scientifically known as Quercus Lobata, these white oak varieties are from California.
The natural valley oak varieties can survive for about 600 years. Its mature size ranges from 50 to 80 feet. You will need to moderately water them throughout the year. Valley oaks are giant trees in parts of North America.
Its branching system is twisted and has an arch-like canopy. Although these trees are not much bigger, their hardwood is highly useful for building cabinetry and flooring. Not just this, it produces acorns that serve as a crucial source of food for birds and squirrels.
4. Mexican White Oak (Quercus Polymorpha)
It is one of the most ornamental types of white oak trees spread widely throughout Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Scientifically famous as Quercus Polymorpha, it is native to North American regions.
It’s a medium-sized oak tree with a height of about 40 feet and a diameter of 2 feet. It has a beautiful wide and round-shaped crown. The leaves of this tree are leathery, thick, half green, and yellow on the underside highlighted veins.
During the spring season, the leaves change their color to peach and yellowish-brown in winter. The tree features a gray bark scaly pattern. In older trunks of Mexican white oak, you can observe shallow cracks and scaly plates.
5. Pedunculate Oak (Quercus Robur)
English oak, Common oak, or European oak is another attractive species among several types of white oak trees. It is a deciduous plant originally spread in most parts of the Caucasus in Europe.
Many of its varieties are also distributed across North America and China. It’s a flowering tree with prominent features like strong heartwood that last for a long time.
That said, wood is highly useful for making luxurious interiors, flooring, and furniture. The wood can be identified by the unique and broadened light to dark brown rings. The tree can climb up to 20 to 40 m tall.
6. White Oak (Quercus Alba)
It is one of the long-lived and preeminent white oak type that belong to the beech family, Fagaceae. It can be most commonly located in North America starting from eastern to central regions.
Unlike its name, the bark of this tree is somewhat light grey. The bark has shallow creases with flaky and scaly plates. The deciduous tree has an upright trunk and broad crown. When grown in forests it can climb up very high between 60 to 80 feet.
It has several purposes like building ships, woodcraft, the interior of houses, agricultural implements, and construction.
7. Oriental White Oak (Quercus Aliena)
Commonly referred to as Oriental white oak or Galcham oak, it is a giant deciduous tree with varying sizes from medium to large. These are indigenous white oak tree varieties from Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea.
The mature size of these decorative trees includes a height of 40 to 80 ft and spread of 40 to 80 ft. You can find its leaves in different shapes like glossy green leaves, regularly lobed, clearly-ribbed, elliptic ovate, and roughly-toothed.
In fall the tree’s leaves change to yellow from gray-white. Its durable wood is useful for making wood floors and boat making in Eastern Asia. Even its seeds serve as a crushed powder to enhance the taste of loaves of bread and cereals as well as for thickening soup.
8. Swamp White Oak (Quercus Bicolor)
Quercus bicolor or Swamp white oak is one of the unique types of white oak trees. This tree is homegrown in North America. It is a medium-sized tree in the Fagaceae family. It can grow to 60-75’ in height and 61 to 91 cm in diameter.
One of the special characteristics of this tree is that it can survive in any kind of habitat and is easy to transplant. This makes it a go-to plant when it comes to choosing a stunning oak tree for the home garden. Additionally, it produces sweet acorns that attract many rodents like squirrels.
9. Arizona White Oak (Quercus Arizonica)
If you are looking for a lovely evergreen oak tree, then check out these white oak varieties. Its distinct species are found in New Mexico, Sinaloa, western Texas, Arizona, Durango, Sonora, and Coahuila.
Arizona white oak loves to thrive in different kinds of habitats including grasslands, chaparrals, and savannas. It is known for its heavy, durable and strong wood.
Unlike other oaks, the hardwood of this tree is used for fuel. The height of this tree generally reaches up to 50 feet. It offers shelter to a variety of wildlife and also provides food with its acorns.
How Do You Identify White Oak?
The white oaks are recognized as one of the most attractive trees located originally in the eastern United States. There are many different types of white oak trees scattered throughout the globe.
So it does not matter if you want to plant a white oak in your garden or business landscape, you’ve always got suitable options. Here check out their distinct features to spot them:
Height: The white oak tree matures at an age of 500 years or even more. Known for being available in different sizes, the different kinds of white oak species can reach more than 100 feet in height.
Leaves: It has leaves that are precisely lobed with round-shaped tips. In fall, the lovely oak leaves get more attention for their purple or scarlet hue.
Flowers: Normally, the white oak trees start flowering in May. They grow separate female and male flowers. Its male flowers are green and yellow with slender catkins. While the female flowers appear green and red.
Fruits: White Oak trees grow acorns that are three 3/4 inches in length.
Related: How Fast Do Oak Trees Grow? | Oak Tree Care Guide | Fertilizing Oak Trees
How Can You Tell An Oak Tree By Its Bark?
Just like their name, the bark of these trees is ash-like gray and off-white. If you take a look, it might appear full of plates and scales. As the tree matures the bark becomes somewhat smooth.
How Fast Do White Oak Trees Grow?
Speaking about the growth rate of white oak trees it varies for different white oaks. It grows from a slow to medium rate with about a 12 – 24 inches increase in height per year.
The Lifespan of White Oak Trees
Normally the white oak trees are a little slow at growing. However, the lifespan of white oak tree varieties is long. They can thrive well for about 500 to 600 years. This goes when it grows under perfect conditions like moist, deep, and well-drained soils.
Related: How Long Do Oak Trees Take To Grow | How Long Do Oak Trees Live| How Long Do White Oak Live?
Q. How do you tell the difference between white oak and red oak acorns?
A. The red oak tree produces acorns that can take about 15 months to mature completely. Also, its acorns contain high quantities of tannic acid and taste bitter. Whereas the acorns of white oak trees are not much bitter in one season of growing.
In addition, white oak acorns are thin but longer in length. On the other hand red oak acorns have a greater diameter but are short in length.
Q. How can you tell a white oak from a red oak?
A. When comparing a white oak with a red oak tree you should know that there are many differences in their characteristics. For example, white oak is somewhat denser and harder than red oak. This makes it highly useful for tasks that need watertight wood such as building wood.
Also all types of white oak barks have a lot of cracks & creases on them, whereas red oak trees have a smoother bark. Another important difference is that the white oak is resistant to rot whereas the red oak can easily rot.
Q. Is white oak wood rare?
A. Most notably, the white oak trees are known for their preeminent hardwood found in central and eastern North America. White oak wood is quite valuable and rare.
Q. What is the difference between white oak and swamp white oak?
A. Most often people get confused in distinguishing between the white oaks and swamp white oak trees. But there are certain distinct features between the two of them.
The swamp white oaks usually have highly smooth lobes that tend to grow quickly. Also, the hardwood of swamp oak trees is not that valuable in contrast to white oaks. This is the common reason swamp oaks are useful as decorative trees in the United States.