In 1941, Maryland designated the White Oak, (Fagaceae Quercus alba,) as its state tree (Chapter 731, Acts of 1941; Code
State Government Article, sec. 13-310).
Handsome and sturdy, the white oak is named for its whitish bark and grey twigs. White Oaks are large, long-lived, and slow-growing trees, reaching
heights of 60 to 150 feet, with diameters between 3 to 4 feet. Their glossy, bright green leaves have rounded lobes, five to seven per leaf. The species
is found commonly throughout Maryland. The most famous example of the White Oak was the Wye Oak at Wye Mills, Maryland.
Maryland State Tree: White Oak
White oak (Quercus alba) is an outstanding tree among all trees and is widespread across eastern North America. The most important lumber tree of
the white oak group, growth is good on all but the driest shallow soils. Its high-grade wood is useful for many things, an important one being staves
for barrels, hence the name stave oak. The acorns are an important food for many kinds of wildlife.
Identification of the White Oak
Leaf: Alternate, simple, oblong to ovate in shape, pinnately veined with an evenly lobed margin, 4 to 7 inches long. The apex is rounded
and the base is wedge-shaped. Leaves are hairless, bright green above and whitish below.
Flower: Male flowers are green, borne in naked catkins, 2 to 4 inches long. Female flowers are reddish and appear as single spikes. Appearing
with the leaves.
Fruit: Ovoid, but may be oblong, with a warty cap that covers 1/4 of the fruit. The cap always detaches at maturity. Matures in one year,
ripens 120 days after pollination (July to September).
Twig: Red-brown to somewhat gray, hairless, with red-brown multiple terminal buds that are small, rounded and hairless. Twigs are often
shiny or somewhat glaucous.
Bark: Whitish or ashy gray, varying from scaly to irregularly platy or blocky. On older trees smooth patches are not uncommon.
Form: A large tree; when open grown, white oaks have rugged, irregular crowns that are wide spreading, with a stocky bole. In the forest
crowns are upright and oval.
The law designating the white oak as the official Maryland state tree is found in the Maryland Statutes, Title 13, Section 13-310.
Article - State Government
TITLE 13. EMBLEMS; COMMEMORATIVE DAYS; MANUAL.
The white oak (Quercus alba) is the State tree.
Taxonomic Hierarchy: White Oak
Kingdom: Plantae - Plants Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons Subclass: Hamamelididae Order: Fagales Family: Fagaceae - Beech family Genus: Quercus L. - oak Species: Quercus alba L. - white oak
All of the state trees, except the Hawaii state tree, are native to the state in which
they are designated.