Bur Oak Quercus - macrocarpa

Bur Oak can look similar to White Oak, but it has much shallower, rounded lobes on its leaves, and it is Canada’s most widespread Oak species.  Bur Oak has thick, corky bark and deep roots, making it an excellent drought and fire resistant species, which is why it is more common than other Oaks in the Prairie Provinces. Bur Oak acorns are sweet and edible, and have been used both traditionally and currently as a source of food, often ground into a flavourful flour and used to make bread.  Bur Oak acorns are somewhat distinctive, and have a fringe of overlapping, pointy scales at the tip.

Bur Oak Leaves
Bur Oak leaves are pale and hairy on the underside. Photo by Sean Fox.

Bur Oak Bark
Bur Oak form beautiful shade trees, with spreading branches and a distinctive, corky ridged bark. Photo by Sean Fox.

Bur Oak Bud
Terminal buds of the Bur Oak are 3-6 mm long, brown and hairy. They are usually surrounded by multiple pointed scales. Photo by Sean Fox.

Ontario Tree Atlas map of non-planted Bur Oak. 1995-1999.
Ontario Tree Atlas map of non-planted Bur Oak. 1995-1999.

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Farrar, J.L.. 1995. Trees in Canada. Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd. Toronto. ON. 504 pp.  

Kershaw, L. 2001. Trees in Ontario: Including tall shrubs. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. AB. 240 pp

Muma, W. 2011. Ontario Trees and Shrubs. [Online] Available: www.ontariotrees.com

OMNR, 2011. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources: Ontario Tree Atlas. [Online] Available: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/ClimateChange/2ColumnSubPage/267027.html

OMNR, 2008. Ontario’s Biodiversity: Species at Risk.