Quercus imbricaria ▪︎ Shingle Oak

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Latin Name: Quercus imbricaria
Common Name: Shingle Oak

imbricaria range map

Family: Fagaceae
Division: Red
Native range: Pennsylvania to Georgia, Nebraska to Arkansas.
Introduced: 1724
Sun/Shade: Sun
Height × Width: 50'-60' × same or a bit more; in the wild to 80' - 100'.
Form: Pyramidal to upright-oval when young, broad-rounded with age.
Zones: 4 - 8

Flower: Monoecious. Pistillate catkins (male infloresences).

Leaves: ID feature: UNLOBED. Oblong, lanceolate, bristle-like tip, revulate (slightly rolled-back) margin, lustrous, dark green above, pale green and pubescent beneath. 1/4" - 5/8" petiole (leaf "stem"). Can be reddish when emerging. Old leaves are persistent.

Fall Color: Yellow-brown to russet-red.

Fruit: Nut. Acorns short-stalked, nearly globose, 5/8". Cap covers 1/3 to 1/2. Appressed red-brown scales, mature 2nd year.

Buds: Sharp and pointed, often slightly hairy.

Bark: Gray-brown. With age, low ridges and shallow furrows.

Wildlife: Songbirds, upland game birds, and mammals. For detailed information about insect and other faunal associations see Illinois Wildflower's Quercus imbricaria page.

Disease issues: none serious

Euro-American Cultural Uses: wood used for shingles, hence the common name.

Indigenous Cultural Uses:
Infusion of bark had many medicinal uses, wood was used for tools, fiber for basketry.


Notes: Tolerant of drier soils.

Where to find Quercus imbricaria in Maxwell Arboretum:
(click to enlarge)

Quercus imbricaria location map

In print
Is that pile of oak shingles for your roof?
The Battle Ground by Ellen Glasgow
Slate was brought over from England, whereas most of the shingles were rived from native cedar and oak logs.
New Discoveries at Jamestown by John L. Cotter

Later in the day, Tom crossed the pike to the oak-shingled office of the Chiawassee Consolidated.
The Quickening by Francis Lynde

It had white or red oak, or pine shingles to kivver de roof wid.
Slave Narratives Vol. XIV. South Carolina, Part 2; Works Projects Administration

Short logs of oak are to be split into huge shingles for the roof, and tough and tedious work it is.
Detailed Minutiae of Soldier life in the Army of Northern Virginia, 1861-1865 by Carlton McCarthy

Stave and shingle bolts and closely piled oak lumber and square timbers also suffer from injury of this kind.
Seasoning of Wood by Joseph B. Wagner

Their houses were made of wood; their roofs were made of oak shingles.
A History of the Town of Fairfax by Jeanne Johnson Rust

Rome was roofed with shingles for centuries, made of oak or pine.
Inventions in the Century by William Henry Doolittle

The shingle or laurel oak may be met in any woodland from Pennsylvania to Nebraska, and south to Georgia and Arkansas.
Trees Worth Knowing by Julia Ellen Rogers


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All images from the Earl G. Maxwell Arboretum unless noted. imbricaria acorns

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