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Black or Red Oak?

Posted by smivies z5b ontario (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 20, 13 at 21:04

If it is possible to distinguish between Red Oak and Black Oak by a fallen leaf, what species do people believe this leaf belongs to?

It was found in a natural area with acidic soils over granite bedrock in which Red Oak, White Oak, and the occasional Bur Oak (in low areas) are found. Chinquapin Oak and Swamp White Oak are also found in the same region of Eastern Ontario (Thousand Islands) but not at this particular site.

The literature I have read suggests that Black Oak has not been identified in this region but this leaf has me thinking otherwise? The official range maps of Black Oak show the species no closer than 80 miles from this site.

What do people think?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Black or Red Oak?

Hmm.. That particular leaf looks more White Oak than either Black or Red to me. The ends of the leaf 'points' are furled so that I cannot distinguish for sure. The other attributes of the leaf that I see scream WO to me.

Now, do you see that leaf at the lower right of your photo which looks as though it's got a pine needle lying across part of the upper portion of it? That one looks like BO to me.

Brad N IL./Z5


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RE: Black or Red Oak?

All the leaves had 'furled' edges unfortunately. They were all very distinctly different from other White Oak and Red Oak leaves that were also littering the ground.

I had assumed the bristle tips on the lobes had broken off when the leaves dried but, on closer examination, they are indeed rounded (sharply rounded, mind you).

White Oak it is...thanks for the feedback


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RE: Black or Red Oak?

@brad_s

Does this leaf make you think of Black Oak?
I didn't think it was distinct enough from Red Oak to be considered?


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RE: Black or Red Oak?

The picture of three leaves look like a deeply lobed variation of white oak. Still within the normal variation for the species. I visit Wellesley Island in the thousand island region every summer and know of a white oak in Wellesley Island State Park that has deeply lobed leaves similar to the ones you posted. I wish I had time to visit this time of year to collect acorns . . . .

The bottom pic looks like "regular" Quercus rubra to me.


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RE: Black or Red Oak?

@treeguy_ny That's what I figured regarding the Red Oak leaf.

The deeply lobed White Oak variant was only evident at one location on an 8 mile hike. Wellesley Island is really nice but the deer are real forest killers. Our hike was at an area called Marble Rock...north of Gananoque and ~15 miles from the Thousand Islands bridge. Deer densities at this location are much lower (partly) because it is surrounded by traditional rural & agricultural landowners. In the more summer home/cottage areas, deer #'s are a fair bit higher and the understory is starting to look bare.


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RE: Black or Red Oak?

That's too bad about the deer population affecting the forest regeneration there. I don't pick up on such details as my visit to the area usually lasts less than 10 days, much of which is spent on the water, fishing pole in hand :)

I believe they had to thin the deer population on Wellesley a few years back if my memory is correct. I remember seeing many more deer 8 years ago and earlier than I do now. Again, my observation is limited to 8-10 days during the summer . . .


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RE: Black or Red Oak?

Smivies, I'll second everything TreeGuy said, and the pointed ends of the leaves are the biggest clue to me. Yeah, I suppose that it's possible that they *could* wear a bit if abused, but I think that the leaves would be more likely to tear.

Glad we were able to help!

Brad N IL./Z5


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RE: Black or Red Oak?

I think the top leaves in this thread look more like Shumard and Nuttalli oaks. The next pics of oak leaves look more like Black and Red (Rubra) oak. If you had the opportunity to see the trees bark, as well as the leaves, the Black oak has a orangish hue to the bark if you look at the inner grooves of the bark. The Quercus Rubra tends to have more reddish fall color. The Black oak doesn't have a noticeable fall color. To confuse thinghs further, the Scarlet oak has a similar leaf shape, but with a very vivid red color in fall and bristle type ends on the leaves. This is my best guesses on the ID.


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