Quercus nigra

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Water oak
Quercus nigra USDA.jpg
Leaves and acorns
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fagales
Family: Fagaceae
Genus: Quercus
Subgenus: Quercus subg. Quercus
Section: Quercus sect. Lobatae
Species:Q. nigra
Binomial name
Quercus nigra
L.
Quercus nigra range map 1.png
Natural range
Synonyms [1]

Quercus nigra, the water oak, is an oak in the red oak group (Quercus sect. Lobatae), native to the eastern and south-central United States, found in all the coastal states from New Jersey to Texas, and inland as far as Oklahoma, Kentucky, and southern Missouri. [2] It occurs in lowlands and up to 450 m (1500 ft) altitude.

Oak genus of plants

An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus of the beech family, Fagaceae. There are approximately 600 extant species of oaks. The common name "oak" also appears in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus, as well as in those of unrelated species such as Grevillea robusta and the Casuarinaceae (she-oaks). The genus Quercus is native to the Northern Hemisphere, and includes deciduous and evergreen species extending from cool temperate to tropical latitudes in the Americas, Asia, Europe, and North Africa. North America contains the largest number of oak species, with approximately 90 occurring in the United States, while Mexico has 160 species of which 109 are endemic. The second greatest center of oak diversity is China, which contains approximately 100 species.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

New Jersey State of the United States of America

New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the United States. It is located on a peninsula, bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, particularly along the extent of the length of New York City on its western edge; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware River and Pennsylvania; and on the southwest by the Delaware Bay and Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state by area but the 11th-most populous, with 9 million residents as of 2017, and the most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states; its biggest city is Newark. New Jersey lies completely within the combined statistical areas of New York City and Philadelphia. New Jersey was the second-wealthiest U.S. state by median household income as of 2017.

Contents

Description

Quercus nigra is a medium-sized deciduous tree, growing to 30 m (100 ft) tall with a trunk up to 1 m (3 ft) in diameter. Young trees have a smooth, brown bark that becomes gray-black with rough scaly ridges as the tree matures. The leaves are alternate, simple and tardily deciduous, remaining on the tree until mid-winter; they are 3–12 cm (1–5 in) long and 2–6 cm (1/2–2 in) broad, variable in shape, most commonly shaped like a spatula being broad and rounded at the top and narrow and wedged at the base. The margins vary, usually being smooth to shallowly lobed, with a bristle at the apex and lobe tips. The tree is easy to identify by the leaves, which have a lobe that looks as if a drop of water is hanging from the end of the leaf. The top of each leaf is a dull green to bluish green and the bottom is a paler bluish-green. On the bottom portion of the leaves, rusty colored hairs run along the veins. The acorns are arranged singly or in pairs, 10–14 mm (1/3-1/2 in) long and broad, with a shallow cupule; they mature about 18 months after pollination in fall of second year. [3]

Deciduous trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally

In the fields of horticulture and botany, the term deciduous (/dɪˈsɪdʒuəs/) means "falling off at maturity" and "tending to fall off", in reference to trees and shrubs that seasonally shed leaves, usually in the autumn; to the shedding of petals, after flowering; and to the shedding of ripe fruit.

Tree Perennial woody plant with elongated trunk

In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated stem, or trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only woody plants with secondary growth, plants that are usable as lumber or plants above a specified height. Trees are not a taxonomic group but include a variety of plant species that have independently evolved a woody trunk and branches as a way to tower above other plants to compete for sunlight. Trees tend to be long-lived, some reaching several thousand years old. In wider definitions, the taller palms, tree ferns, bananas, and bamboos are also trees. Trees have been in existence for 370 million years. It is estimated that there are just over 3 trillion mature trees in the world.

Leaf organ of a vascular plant, composing its foliage

A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant and is the principal lateral appendage of the stem. The leaves and stem together form the shoot. Leaves are collectively referred to as foliage, as in "autumn foliage".

Ecology

Water oak leaf cluster Quercus nigra.jpg
Water oak leaf cluster

Water oak serves the same ecological role as weeping willow and other wetland trees. It is adapted to wet, swampy areas, such as along ponds and stream banks, but can also tolerate well-drained sites and even heavy, compacted soils. It grows in sandy soils, red clays, and old fields to the borders of swamps, streams, to bottomlands. Due to its ability to grow and reproduce quickly, the water oak is often the most abundant species in a stand of trees. The tree is relatively short-lived compared to other oaks and may live only 60 to 80 years. It does not compete well and does not tolerate even light shade. Water oak is frequently used to restore bottomland hardwood forests on land that was previously cleared for agriculture or pine plantations. Minimum age for flowering and fruiting is 20 years and the tree produces heavy crops of acorns nearly every year. Water oak is not recommended as an ornamental due to being short-lived, disease-prone, and extremely messy.

Swamp A forested wetland

A swamp is a wetland that is forested. Many swamps occur along large rivers where they are critically dependent upon natural water level fluctuations. Other swamps occur on the shores of large lakes. Some swamps have hammocks, or dry-land protrusions, covered by aquatic vegetation, or vegetation that tolerates periodic inundation or soil saturation. The two main types of swamp are "true" or swamp forests and "transitional" or shrub swamps. In the boreal regions of Canada, the word swamp is colloquially used for what is more correctly termed a bog, fen, or muskeg. The water of a swamp may be fresh water, brackish water or seawater. Some of the world's largest swamps are found along major rivers such as the Amazon, the Mississippi, and the Congo.

Pond A relatively small body of standing water

A pond is an area filled with water, either natural or artificial, that is usually smaller than a lake. It may arise naturally in floodplains as part of a river system, or be a somewhat isolated depression. It may contain shallow water with marsh and aquatic plants and animals.

Stream A body of surface water flowing down a channel

A stream is a body of water with surface water flowing within the bed and banks of a channel. The stream encompasses surface and groundwater fluxes that respond to geological, geomorphological, hydrological and biotic controls.

Hybrids of water oak are known with southern red oak ( Quercus falcata ), bluejack oak ( Quercus incana ), turkey oak ( Quercus laevis ), blackjack oak ( Quercus marilandica ), willow oak ( Quercus phellos ), Shumard oak ( Quercus shumardii ), and black oak ( Quercus velutina )

Hybrid (biology) offspring of cross-species reproduction

In biology, a hybrid is the offspring resulting from combining the qualities of two organisms of different breeds, varieties, species or genera through sexual reproduction. Hybrids are not always intermediates between their parents, but can show hybrid vigour, sometimes growing larger or taller than either parent. The concept of a hybrid is interpreted differently in animal and plant breeding, where there is interest in the individual parentage. In genetics, attention is focused on the numbers of chromosomes. In taxonomy, a key question is how closely related the parent species are.

<i>Quercus falcata</i> species of plant

Quercus falcata, commonly known as the southern red oak or Spanish oak, is a tree in the red oak section (Lobatae) of the genus Quercus native to the eastern and south-central United States.

<i>Quercus incana</i> species of plant

Quercus incana is a species of oak known by the common names bluejack oak, upland willow oak, sandjack oak, and cinnamon oak. It is native to the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains of the United States, from Virginia around Florida to Texas and inland to Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Water oak acorns are an important food for white-tailed deer, eastern gray squirrel, raccoon, wild turkey, mallard, wood duck, and bobwhite quail. In winter, deer will browse the buds and young twigs.

White-tailed deer species of mammal

The white-tailed deer, also known as the whitetail or Virginia deer, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru and Bolivia. It has also been introduced to New Zealand, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, the Bahamas, the Lesser Antilles, and some countries in Europe, such as Finland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Serbia. In the Americas, it is the most widely distributed wild ungulate.

Eastern gray squirrel species of rodent

Sciurus carolinensis, common name eastern gray squirrel or grey squirrel depending on region, is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus. It is native to eastern North America, where it is the most prodigious and ecologically essential natural forest regenerator. Widely introduced to certain places around the world, the eastern gray squirrel in Europe, in particular, is regarded as an invasive species.

Raccoon medium sized procyonid mammal native to North America

The raccoon, sometimes spelled racoon, also known as the common raccoon, North American raccoon,, northern raccoon, or coon, is a medium-sized mammal native to North America. The raccoon is the largest of the procyonid family, having a body length of 40 to 70 cm and a body weight of 5 to 26 kg. Its grayish coat mostly consists of dense underfur which insulates it against cold weather. Three of the raccoon's most distinctive features are its extremely dexterous front paws, its facial mask, and its ringed tail, which are themes in the mythologies of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Raccoons are noted for their intelligence, with studies showing that they are able to remember the solution to tasks for at least three years. They are usually nocturnal and omnivorous, eating about 40% invertebrates, 33% plants, and 27% vertebrates.

Uses and history

Water oak has been used for timber and for fuel by people in the southern states since the 17th century. The wood is generally sold as "red oak", mixed with the wood from other red oaks.

Firewood wood used for fires

Firewood is any wooden material that is gathered and used for fuel. Generally, firewood is not highly processed and is in some sort of recognizable log or branch form, compared to other forms of wood fuel like pellets or chips. Firewood can be seasoned (dry) or unseasoned (fresh/wet). It is generally classified as hardwood or softwood.

Other names include spotted oak, duck oak, punk oak, orange oak or possum oak.

Related Research Articles

<i>Quercus montana</i> species of plant

Quercus montana, the chestnut oak, is a species of oak in the white oak group, Quercus sect. Quercus. It is native to the eastern United States, where it is one of the most important ridgetop trees from southern Maine southwest to central Mississippi, with an outlying northwestern population in southern Michigan. It is also sometimes called "rock oak" because of its presence in montane and other rocky habitats. As a consequence of its dry habitat and ridgetop exposure, it is not usually a large tree, typically 18–22 m (59–72 ft) tall; occasional specimens growing in better conditions can however become large, with trees up to 40–43 m (131–141 ft) tall known. They tend to have a similar spread of 18–22 m (59–72 ft). A 10-year-old sapling grown in full sun will stand about 5 m (16 ft) tall. This species is often an important canopy species in an oak-heath forest.

<i>Quercus palustris</i> species of plant

Quercus palustris, the pin oak or swamp Spanish oak, is an oak in the red oak section. Pin oak is one of the most commonly used landscaping oaks in its native range due to its ease of transplant, relatively fast growth, and pollution tolerance. Its distinctive shape is considered unique among hardwoods.

<i>Quercus bicolor</i> species of plant

Quercus bicolor, the swamp white oak, is a North American species of medium-sized trees in the beech family. It is a common element of America's north central and northeastern mixed forests. It can survive in a variety of habitats. It forms hybrids with bur oak where they occur together in the wild.

<i>Quercus petraea</i> species of plant

Quercus petraea, commonly known as the sessile oak, Cornish oak, or durmast oak, is a species of oak tree native to most of Europe and into Anatolia and Iran.

<i>Quercus macrocarpa</i> species of plant

Quercus macrocarpa, the bur oak, sometimes spelled burr oak, is a species of oak in the white oak section Quercus sect. Quercus, native to North America in the eastern and central United States and eastern and central Canada. This plant is also called mossycup oak and mossycup white oak.

<i>Quercus michauxii</i> species of plant

Quercus michauxii, the swamp chestnut oak, is a species of oak in the white oak section Quercus section Quercus in the beech family. It is native to bottomlands and wetlands in the southeastern and midwestern United States, in coastal states from New Jersey to Texas, inland primarily in the Mississippi–Ohio Valley as far as Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.

<i>Quercus laevis</i> species of plant

Quercus laevis, the turkey oak, is a member of the red oak group of oaks. It is native to the southeastern United States, occurring on the coastal plain from Virginia south to central Florida, and west to southeast Louisiana. The name turkey oak derives from the resemblance of the leaves to a turkey's foot. A Turkish and southern European species Quercus cerris is also commonly referred to as Turkey oak, so Quercus laevis is sometimes referred to as American turkey oak to distinguish it from the European species.

<i>Quercus frainetto</i> species of plant

Quercus frainetto, the Hungarian oak or Italian oak, is a species of oak, native to southeastern Europe and Turkey; it is classified in Quercus sect. Mesobalanus.

<i>Quercus laurifolia</i> species of plant

Quercus laurifolia is a medium-sized semi-evergreen oak in the red oak section Quercus sect. Lobatae. It is native to the southeastern and south-central the United States, from coastal Virginia to central Florida and west to southeast Texas. There are reports of the species growing in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but these probably represent introductions.

<i>Quercus shumardii</i> species of plant

Quercus shumardii, the Shumard oak, spotted oak, Schneck oak, Shumard red oak, or swamp red oak, is one of the largest of the oak species in the red oak group. It is closely related to Texas red oak, Nuttall's oak, and Chisos red oak.

<i>Quercus coccinea</i> species of plant

Quercus coccinea, the scarlet oak, is an oak in the red oak section Quercus sect. Lobatae. The scarlet oak can be mistaken for the pin oak, the black oak, or occasionally the red oak. On scarlet oak the sinuses between lobes are "C"-shaped in comparison to pin oak, which has "U"-shaped sinuses and the acorns are half covered by a deep cap.

<i>Quercus ellipsoidalis</i> species of plant

Quercus ellipsoidalis, the northern pin oak or Hill's oak, is a North American species of trees native to the north-central United States and south-central Canada, primarily in the Great Lakes region and the Upper Mississippi Valley. It occurs on moist, clay soils.

<i>Quercus acutissima</i> species of plant

Quercus acutissima, the sawtooth oak, is an Asian species of oak native to China, Korea, Japan, Indochina and the Himalayas. It is widely planted in many lands and has become naturalized in parts of North America.

<i>Quercus phellos</i> species of plant

Quercus phellos, the willow oak, is a North American species of a deciduous tree in the red oak group of oaks. It is native to the eastern and central United States from Long Island Sound south to northern Florida, and west to southernmost Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and eastern Texas. It is most commonly found growing on lowland floodplains, often along streams, but rarely also in uplands with poor drainage, up to 400 meters (1,300 ft) altitude. Willow oak's natural range extends into southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. The book Pennsylvania Trees (1928), written by state chief forester Joseph Illick, records willow oak as occurring in Lancaster, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties, chiefly on wet sites, occasionally in drier, upland ones. Much of that area has been built over and developed since World War II, and the tree is now classified as endangered in the state.

<i>Quercus imbricaria</i> species of plant

Quercus imbricaria, the shingle oak, is a deciduous tree in the red oak group of oaks. It is native primarily to the Midwestern and Upper South regions of North America, from southern New York west to northern Illinois and eastern Kansas, and south to central Alabama and Arkansas. It is most commonly found growing in uplands with good drainage, less often along lowland streams, at 100–700 m altitude.

<i>Quercus lyrata</i> species of plant

Quercus lyrata, the overcup oak, is an oak in the white oak group. It is native to lowland wetlands in the eastern and south-central United States, in all the coastal states from New Jersey to Texas, inland as far as Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois. There are historical reports of it growing in Iowa, but the species appears to have been extirpated there.

<i>Quercus arkansana</i> species of plant

Quercus arkansana, the Arkansas oak, is a species of tree in the beech family. It is native to the southeastern United States. It is threatened by use of its habitat for pine plantations, clearing of land, and diebacks that may be caused by drought.

<i>Quercus pagoda</i> species of plant

Quercus pagoda, the cherrybark oak, is one of the most highly valued red oaks in the southern United States. It is larger and better formed than southern red oak and commonly grows on more moist sites. Its strong wood and straight form make it an excellent timber tree. Many wildlife species use its acorns as food, and cherrybark oak makes a fine shade tree. Cherrybark oak was formerly considered to be a subspecies of southern red oak, Quercus falcata, subsp pagodifolia.

<i>Quercus similis</i> species of plant

Quercus similis, the swamp post oak or bottomland post oak, is an oak species native to the southeastern and south-central United States. The greatest concentration of populations is in Louisiana and Arkansas, Mississippi, and eastern Texas, with isolated population in Missouri, Alabama, and the Coastal Plain of Georgia and South Carolina.

References

  1. "Quercus nigra L.". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew via The Plant List.
  2. "Quercus nigra". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  3. Nixon, Kevin C. (1997). "Quercus nigra". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee. Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 3. New York and Oxford via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.