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Maryland State Tree

White Oak

Maryland State Tree: White Oak

(Fagaceae Quercus alba)

Adopted in 1941.

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

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.
  • Maryland State Tree: White Oak
  • 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.

Maryland Law

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.

§13--310.

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

State Trees
State Trees
All of the state trees, except the Hawaii state tree, are native to the state in which they are designated.
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