Quercus bicolor ▪︎ Swamp White Oak

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Latin Name: Quercus bicolor
Common Name: Swamp White Oak

Quercus bilor range map

Family: Fagaceae
Division: White
Native range: Quebec to Georgia, to Minnesota and Arkansas
Sun/Shade: sun
Height: 50'-60'
Form: broad, open, round-top crown
Zones: 4-8

Flower: Monoecious, staminate: catkins

Leaves: 3"- 7" × 1¼" × 4" wide, lobes not deep (wavy to halfway to midrib); lustrous dark green above and whitish, tomentose or grayish-green and velvety beneath (distinguishing ID characteristic); leathery. Young trees hold their leaves.

Fall Color: usually yellow, sometimes with reddish-purple.

Fruit: Nut. Acorns are 1", usually paired, cap covers 1/3+, shiny light brown nut, 1"-4" peduncles.

Buds: light chestnut brown.

Bark: flakey grayish brown, deep fissures and flat ridges.

Wildlife: Acorns are eaten by numerous bird species including upland game birds and White-Breasted Nuthatch, Blue Jay, Common Grackle, Rusty Blackbird, Brown Thrasher, and Woodpeckers. Black bear, raccoon, white-tailed deer, white-footed mouse, and various tree squirrels forage on the acorns as well. For detailed information about insect associations see Illinois Wildflower's Quercus bicolor page.

Disease issues: none serious

Euro-American Cultural Uses:

Indigenous Cultural Uses:
Acorns used for food.
A few examples as listed in the University of Michigan Ethnobotany Database (http://naeb.brit.org/uses/search/?string=Quercus+bicolor):

• Ojibway, Cleaning Agent

Bark boiled with hemlock and soft maple bark and the liquid used to clean the rust from traps. The solution was believed to prevent the trap from becoming rusty again.
• Iroquois Drug, Misc. Disease Remedy
Compound decoction of bark taken for cholera.
• Iroquois Drug, Orthopedic Aid
Compound decoction of bark taken for broken bones.
• Iroquois Drug, Respiratory Aid
Compound of leaves smoked and exhaled through the nostrils for catarrh.
• Iroquois Drug, Tuberculosis Remedy
Compound decoction of bark chips taken for consumption.
• Iroquois miscellaneous
Used "when wife runs around, takes away lonesomeness."


Notes: Good drought resistance, though it often grows in wet areas.

Where to find Quercus bicolor in Maxwell Arboretum:

Quercus bicolor location map

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Quercus bicolor acorn
Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

Quercus bicolor foliage
       Foliage, upper and underside   
Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

Quercus bicolor whole
Form, in the wild, Ohio

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