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A Comparison of Oak Trees

A Comparison of Oak Trees

A Comparison of Oak Trees. Oak trees may be identified by comparing their leaves, of which there are four major types: feather-lobed with bristle tips, feather-lobed without bristle tips, wavy-edged or toothed, and smooth-edged. All oak tree branches have clustered-end buds that produce new leaves.

Oak trees may be identified by comparing their leaves, of which there are four major types: feather-lobed with bristle tips, feather-lobed without bristle tips, wavy-edged or toothed, and smooth-edged. All oak tree branches have clustered-end buds that produce new leaves.
Feather-lobed Leaves
Scarlet, northern red, black, southern red, bear and blackjack oaks have feather-lobed leaves with bristly---or pointed---tips. Leaves without bristle tips are found on white, post, overcup, bur and English oaks. The leaf lobes, called sinuses, range from shallow to deep on these two types of leaves, notes the Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Trees.
Wavy, Toothed and Smooth-edged Leaves
Durand, Chapman, chinkapin, basket, swamp and chestnut oaks have toothed leaves, and none has sinuses. The chinkapin oak leaf is toothed, while the Chapman oak's leaves are smooth and wavy. Arkansas, water, shingle, bluejack, Oglethorpe, willow, laurel, myrtle and Virginia live oaks all have smooth leaves with no sinuses.
Bark and Acorns
Oaks with feather-lobed bristly leaves have dark bark and smooth acorns that are either green or brown. Oaks with feather-lobed nonbristly leaves also have dark bark, but the overcup oak's acorns are covered in a rough outer shell, and the bur oak's acorns are partially covered with a hairy outer shell. The acorns of oaks with wavy, toothed and smooth leaves are smooth and green or brown, and their barks are a lighter gray.

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