Photographer & Copyright

© Rob Norris

Photo Source

Public Domain

Inclusion in Plant ID / Comparison Guides

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

collage of Northern Red Oak and Black Oak

Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) vs. Black Oak (Quercus velutina)

Updated January 23rd, 2021

Although these species sometimes look blatantly different, significant variation in individual leaf shape and other characteristics can make these species challenging to tell apart in some cases. There is some overlap in habitat, with black oak preferring slightly drier sites and northern red oak being more shade-tolerant. The two species can also hybridize and form intergrades, so it may not be possible to identify all individuals.

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collage of Northern Red Oak and Pin Oak

Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) vs. Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

Updated July 30th, 2020

These trees are sometimes confused, mainly because they are both common in landscaping and both have pointy-lobed leaves, but they are easily distinguished by leaves, acorns, and growth habit. In the wild, pin oak is found on wetter, sunnier sites and northern red oak on drier, more shaded sites, with relatively little overlap in habitat.

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