Water oak : Quercus nigra

Kingdom : Plant
   Phylum : Magnoliophyta
          Class : Magnoliopsida
               Order : Fagales
                    Family : Fagaceae
                         Genus : Quercus
                              Species : nigra L

Common name: Water oak


Large tree, bark gray-brown with shallow furrows.
Water oak, Photo by David Byres Leaves variable in size and shape, mostly 5-10 cm long and 2-5 cm wide, broader toward the tip, generally unlobed but may have three shallow lobes near the apex and occasionally lateral lobes. Short bristles present on young leaves but not generally on mature leaves, glabrous on both surfaces.

Acorns born singly or in pairs, ovoid to round, about .5 cm long, pubescent, cup saucer shaped, enclosing only the base of the acorn, scales of cup small and appressed, inner surface of cup pubescent, cup may be sessile or short-stalked.

The fruits are biennial, maturing in their second year.

Trees bear seeds by age 20.


Water oak grows in a variety of habitats including mixed forests, fence rows, flatwoods, bottom land and city lots.


Water oak is common throughout the southeastern states from southern New Jersey south to Florida to the Mississippi valley, southeastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and west Tennessee.
Leaves of water oak, Photo by David Byres