Inclusion in Plant ID / Comparison Guides

This photo is featured in 3 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 Bur Oak

White Oak (Quercus alba) vs. Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Updated July 24th, 2020

These two oaks of the white oak group are sometimes confused, but are relatively easy to tell apart by leaf, acorns, bark, and shape. Although they can co-occur on some sites, Bur Oak is more likely in flood-prone bottomlands, fire-prone savannas at the transition zone to prairie, on calcareous soils, or on extremely dry ridges, whereas white oak is more likely in mesic to slightly dry oak forests. These species are more likely to occur together in landscaping than in the wild.

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The other guide is not yet completed and published.