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Inclusion in Plant ID / Comparison Guides

This photo is featured in 2 plant ID/comparison guides:

collage of Swamp White Oak and Bur Oak

Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor) vs. Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Updated March 3rd, 2022

Bur oak and swamp white oak are visually similar and can occur in the same habitat where their ranges overlap. However, certain key characteristics of bark, leaves, and acorns can usually distinguish them. Swamp white oak is usually only found on moist sites, whereas bur oak can also occur on dry uplands. Bur oak prefers calcium-rich soils, whereas swamp white oak is more tolerant of acidic soils. These two species can hybridize and intergrade, so it may not be possible to identify all individuals.

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collage of White Oak and Swamp White Oak

White Oak (Quercus alba) vs. Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor)

Updated August 31st, 2020

These two oaks are sometimes confused; young white oaks growing in shade have shallowly-lobed leaves that can be confused with those of swamp white oaks. Although swamp white oaks are naturally found on wetter sites, both species are widely planted and can be found together in landscaping. The species are usually easily distinguished if you know what to look for. They can, however, hybridize and form intergrades; although hybrids are rare, it may not be possible to identify all trees.

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