Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Southern Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Quercus nigra L.
- Family: Beech (Fagaceae)
- Flowering: April
- Field Marks: This deciduous oak has bristle-tipped, usually unlobed leaves that are broadest
above the middle and less than 4 inches long.
- Habitat: Moist to dry soils in flatwoods and pinelands, along streams, floodplain woods, wet
hammocks, old fields.
- Habit: Tree up to 80 feet tall; trunk diameter up to 3 1/2 feet; crown round-topped.
- Bark: Dark gray, with closely appressed scales.
- Twigs: Brown to reddish, slender, smooth.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, obovate, extremely variable, usually unlobed or occasionally lobed,
bristle-tipped, smooth, broadest above the middle, up to 4 inches long, up to 2 1/2 inches wide.
- Flowers: Male and female flowers borne separately but on the same tree; male flowers crowded
into drooping spikes; female flowers 1-few in a cluster.
- Sepals: 6-parted, united below, small.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 3-12.
- Pistils: Ovary inferior; styles 3.
- Fruits: Acorns ovoid to nearly spherical, up to 1/2 inch long, enclosed about 1/5 of their length
by the cup.
- Notes: The leaves of seedling and stump sprouts are highly variable, ranging from elliptic to
Previous Species -- Overcup Oak (Quercus lyrata)
Return to Species List -- Group 5
Next Species -- Nuttall Oak (Quercus nuttallii)