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How to Identify Oak Leaves

By Contributor

Oaks are a diverse group of trees that grow in many different parts of the world. All oaks bear acorns but each can have different leaf shapes. Use these steps to help you identify oak leaves.

Note the features of White Oak leaves. White Oaks have smooth edged leaves with wavy lobes free of bristles. These leaves typically taper gradually towards the stem.

Observe the features of Chestnut Oak leaves. Chestnut Oaks, a specialized group of white oaks, have oval to lance shaped leaves. The leaf margins have regular, rounded teeth free of bristles. These leaves also taper to the stem.

Take note of the features of Red Oak leaves. Red Oak leaves all have bristles at the tips of their lobes. The leaves are often deeply dissected in between lobes. The leaves end abruptly at the stem.

Pay attention to the features of Live Oaks. Live Oaks, a specialized group of Red Oaks, are noteworthy for having leaves that may be evergreen. The leaves are typically small in size (no more than 5-inches long) and elliptical with smooth margins and bristles. The lobes of the leaves are usually subtle, if present at all.

Obtain a field guide to help you identify oak leaves further. There are wide varieties of oaks with varying leaf types. A field guide to the identification of trees will help you identify oaks in greater detail. A good field guide to use is "Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification," published by St. Martin's Press.


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