Facts & information about oak trees

Updated February 21, 2017

The approximately 60 oak species native to North America are a diverse group of trees, with differences in height, leaves, flowers, fruit and form. These oaks have a wide geographic distribution throughout the continent, with many serving as ornamentals.


Many smaller oaks are almost shrublike, with some examples being the myrtle oak and the turkey oak. Others are tall, majestic, spreading trees, such as the Shumard oak, white oak and overcup oak, all of which can be as high as 100 feet.


Oak identification can be tricky, but close examination of the tree's leaves and acorns usually helps you get a good idea of the species. Studying the number of lobes on the leaves, their size, their texture and colour along with the size and appearance of the acorns typically leads to the discovery of the oak's identity.


Oak trees including the pin oak, live oak and white oak are important shade trees, lawn trees and specimen trees. They are also a source of wood and lumber. Nearly all oaks are significant contributors to the environment, providing homes and cover for wildlife and food for many mammal species and for birds.

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About the Author

John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.