The oak tree, of the genus Quercus, contains hundreds of species ranging in height from 30 to more than 100 feet. An integral part of American lore, the oak is used for everything from flooring to furniture to ship building.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, oak is the most widespread hardwood tree in the northern hemisphere. The species is divided into two major groups; red oak, Erythrobalanus, and white oak, Leucobalanus. Where oak trees are located is largely dependent on the type of oak, as more than 60 varieties are native to the United States.
Primary Growth Areas
The live oak, Quercus virginiana, grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 7 through 10, primarily along the entire coastline of the United States and adjacent, inner regions. The white oak, Quercus alba, thrives across most of the U.S. in hardiness zones 3 through 9, while the northern red oak, Quercus rubra, grows in hardiness zones 3 through 8.
Some types of oak exist in very limited regions. The Stone Mountain oak, for instance, grows only on the rock surface of Stone Mountain, near Atlanta, Georgia, and in a few similar areas, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. Others like the Oglethorpe oak grow only in specific areas of Georgia and South Carolina while the blue oak and valley oak are exclusive to California.
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