Latin Name: Quercus bicolor
Common Name: Swamp White Oak
• Ojibway, Cleaning Agent
Native range: Quebec to Georgia, to Minnesota and Arkansas
Form: broad, open, round-top crown
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):
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:
Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org