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How to Identify Sawtooth Oak Tree Leaves

By John Lindell ; Updated September 21, 2017

The sawtooth oak (Quercus acutissima) is a non-native species of oak that now grows in many portions of the United States. Sawtooth oak was brought to North America from Asia because the species produces abundant acorns at an early age, providing food for many types of wildlife, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry. The sawtooth oak can be mistaken for a chestnut tree, due to the similar aspects of their leaves.

Measure the leaves of a sawtooth oak, look for leaves that are 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide and 3 to 7 inches long, advises the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Examine the shape of sawtooth oak leaves, keep in mind that the foliage is elongated, lance-shaped and has a rounded base where the stem attaches to the leaf.

Feel the edges of a sawtooth oak leaf. Once you have, you will quickly know why the tree has that name. The serrated margins have bristles on their tips, like the teeth on a saw. The texture of the sawtooth leaf when it first develops in the spring is fuzzy, but the surface becomes smooth after just a few weeks.

Study the color of a sawtooth oak leaf. The leaves will be a glossy shade of green. The autumn color of sawtooth oak trees is tan. The leaves change color later in the season than other trees.

Inspect a sawtooth oak in the dead of winter and you will find that many of its leaves are still on the branches. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, in the late fall, the leaves on the ends of the twigs fall off, but those on the inner parts of the tree often remain. Birds and small mammals seek shelter from the winds and snows of winter in its limbs.


About the Author


John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.