Swamp White Oak - Quercus bicolor

Swamp White Oak is rare in Ontario and endangered in other areas of Canada, where it is in decline due to loss of swampy habitat. Similar to White Oak, Swamp White Oak produces sweet, edible kernels that are enjoyed by humans and wild animals alike.  Swamp White Oak can live over 300 years, and the high quality wood is used for furniture and construction. The specific name, bicolor, is in reference to the leaves, which are a rich, dark green above and hairy white below.

Swamp White Oak Tree
The Swam White Oak can grow up to 22 m high, 90cm in diameter and 200 years old. It has a small, forked trunk that leads to drooping branches giving the tree an untidy appearance. Photo by Chris Earley.

Swamp White Oak Bark
Swamp White Oaks have tall, straight trunks with flat-ridged, peeling bark. It is light greyish-brown and scaly, taking on flat ridges with age. Photo by Chris Earley.

Swamp White Oak Autmn Leaves
The leaves turn yellow-brown in autumn. Photo by Chris Earley.

Swamp White Oak Leaves
Leaves of the Swamp White Oak are 12-17 cm long when mature and taper off to a wedge-shaped base. White hairs are present on the leaves and there is also a very strong contrast in color between the upper and lower surfaces. Photo by Jesse Wolf.

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