Bear Oak (Quercus ilicifolia) Closeup of Terminal Buds

Photo of Bear Oak (Quercus ilicifolia)

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Photographer & Copyright

© Doug Goldman

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CC BY 4.0

Inclusion in Plant ID / Comparison Guides

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

collage of Bear Oak and Blackjack Oak

Bear Oak (Quercus ilicifolia) vs. Blackjack Oak (Quercus marilandica)

Updated October 20th, 2020

Bear oak and blackjack oak can be confused as both can occur together in harsh, barren habitats, and in such habitats blackjack oak may exhibit a scrubbier growth habit more like bear oak. They are usually easily distinguished by differences in leaf shape, buds, acorn caps, and growth habit. Their ranges only overlap in a small portion of the Mid-Atlantic and mid-to-southern Appalachians; bear oak ranges farther north and blackjack oak farther south and west.

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collage of Bear Oak and Black Oak

Bear Oak (Quercus ilicifolia) vs. Black Oak (Quercus velutina)

Updated October 1st, 2020

These species are easily confused. Black oak has a much broader range of habitat preferences, but can overlap with bear oak both in dry, sandy coastal areas and more barren upland sites, and when it does, it tends to exhibit morphological changes that make it look more similar. The species are easily distinguished by differences in leaf shape, pubescence on leaves and buds, and growth habit. Acorns are similar but can be distinguished by how much of the nut the cap covers, and whether or not the scales of the cap are loose.

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