How Many Types of Oak Trees Are There?

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There are approximately 60 different species of oak trees native to the United States. The oaks found in North America fall into one of two groups: white oaks and red oaks.

Oak tree against blue sky.
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The white oak, which grows in the eastern half of the nation, can reach a height of 100 feet, with a trunk diameter up to 4 feet.

White Oak tree.
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Common types of white oaks include the bur oak, post oak, chinkapin oak and the swamp white oak. Like all white oaks, their acorns take just one year to mature.

Silhouette of White Oak tree.
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The northern red oak, a tree that can reach 70 feet in some cases, shares a similar range as the white oak. Typical of red oaks, the acorns taste bitter and take two years to develop fully.

Red Oak trees against mountains and blue sky.
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Black oak, pin oak, scarlet oak, blackjack oak and Shumard oak are all species of red oaks with a wide distribution across America.

Black Oak tree.
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The willow oak and live oak (or evergreen oak) are subspecies of the red oak. White oak subspecies include the chestnut oak and the swamp chestnut oak.

Willow Oak tree.
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References

  • A Guide to Field Identification Trees of North America; C. Frank Brockman; 1996
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