Oak leaves vary from a distinct serrated pattern to a five-point "blade" or lamina. Separating the leaf into a serrated family as opposed to a blade category can help narrow your oak options. For example, you will find a serrated leave on scarlet, southern red, cherrybark, northern red, shumards and black oak species, but you will find a five-point blade pattern for post, bur and white oak species.
More exotic oak varieties have a distinct "bulb-shape" that gives the leaves a rounded appearance as opposed to a sharp blade. For example, the leaves for swamp, white-oak, shingle, chingkapin water and chestnut species all have foliage with rounded, bulb-like leaves.
Thickness and Shade
Oak leaves display a combination of physical features, such as thick, waxy leaves with a pale but same-shaded underside. Whether the leaf has a green or reddish color, the underside will pale by half, and to the touch, the leaf will have a waxy residue to it that transfers to your skin. Additionally, the leaves will have disproportionately thick veins, providing the leaf with a "sturdy" feel.
Acorns or acorn buds appear in conjuction with oak leaves. Acorns represent the "seeds" by which oak trees propagate and consist of a "bell-shaped" nut. The nut exhibits a smooth hull similar to a filbert nut and the dome of the nut consists of a flaky, woody hull. When imagining an acorn, imagine a round nut wearing a thick stocking cap. Identifying an acorn provides proof that the leaf you want to identify resides in the oak family.