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collage of Blackjack Oak and Water Oak

Blackjack Oak (Quercus marilandica) vs. Water Oak (Quercus nigra)

Updated October 1st, 2020

These two species are frequently confused as their leaf shapes are similar and atypical for oaks. Although their ranges overlap extensively, they have almost no overlap in habitat, with water oak preferring flood-prone sites and sometimes moist uplands, whereas blackjack oak prefers extremely dry, nutrient-poor, fire-prone habitats. They are easily told apart by leaf size, shape, bark, acorns, and habitat.

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