Eastern Black Oak

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 Quercus velutina subsp. var.  Black oak, Eastern Black Oak
Quercus velutina 001.jpg
Habit: tree
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Fagaceae > Quercus velutina var. ,

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Quercus velutina, Lam. (Q.tinctoria, Bartram). Black Oak. Yellow-bark Oak. Tree, to 80, sometimes to 150 ft., with rather slender branches, spreading gradually into a narrow, open head: bark very dark brown, inner bark orange: lvs. pinnatifid to or beyond the middle, with 7-9 broad toothed lobes,

dark and dull green above, brownish pubescent beneath at first, glabrous at length, except in the axils of the veins, 4-10 in. long: fr. short-stalked; acorn ovoid, 1/2-1in. long, embraced about one-half by the hemispherical densely pubescent cup. Maine to Fla., west to Minn, and Texas.—This species hybridizes with Q. coccinea, Q. rubra, Q. imbricaria and Q. Phellos (Q. helerophylla, Michx.).

Tree of rapid growth, less beautiful than the preceding species, but the wood is more valuable ; it flourishes even in rather dry soil, and the foliage turns dull red or orange-brown in fall. Var. missouriensis, Sarg. Lvs. with a permanent rusty pubescence beneath: cup-scales tomentose. W. Minn, to Ark.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

Eastern Black oak (Quercus velutina), or more commonly known as simply Black Oak is an oak in the red oak (Quercus sect. Lobatae) group of oaks. It is native to eastern North America from southern Ontario south to northern Florida and southern Maine west to northeastern Texas. It is a common tree in the Indiana Dunes and other sandy dunal ecosystems along the southern shores of Lake Michigan.

In the northern part of its range, black oak is a relatively small tree, reaching a height of 20-25 m (65-80 ft) and a diameter of 90 cm (35 in), but it grows larger in the south and center of its range, where heights of up to 42 m (140 ft) are known. Black Oak is well known to readily hybridize with other members of the red oak (Quercus sect. Lobatae) group of oaks being one parent in at least a dozen different named hybrids.

Detail of mature bark
Quercus velutina.jpg

The leaves of the black oak are alternately arranged on the twig and are 10-20 cm (4-8 in) long with 5-7 bristle tipped lobes separated by deep U-shaped notches. The upper surface of the leaf is a shiny deep green, the lower is yellowish-brown. There are also stellate hairs on the underside of the leaf that grow in clumps.

The inner bark of the black oak contains a yellow pigment called quercitron, which was sold commercially in Europe until the 1940s.

Key Characteristics:

Sun leaves have very deep u-shaped sinuses.

The buds are velvety and covered in white hair.

The fruits or acorns of the black oak are small and almost as wide as they are long. The cap is large and covers almost half of the nut.


Black oak grows best on well drained, silty clay to loam soils.

Black oak grows on all aspects and slope positions. It grows best in coves and on middle and lower slopes with northerly and easterly aspects. It is found at elevations up to 1200 m (4,000 ft) in the southern Appalachians.


Pests and diseases


Named Hybrids involving Black Oak:


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