Swamp White Oak
Quercus bicolour

Location in Ontario
Swamp White Oak grows throughout the Deciduous Forest Region and along part of the St. Lawrence River. It grows on moist bottomlands and along the edges of swamps.


300 year old Swamp White Oak, Chatham, Ontario


The massive trunk of the Swamp White Oak in Chatham.
 

Genus Quercus
The ten Oaks of Southern Ontario are divided into two categories. Red Oaks have lobed leaves which are pointed and acorns (seeds) that develop over two years. White Oaks have leaves with rounded lobes or simple leaves with sharp teeth and acorns (seeds) that develop over one year. Acorns are a one-seeded nut with a tough shell, and a scaly cap which attaches to the tree. Often, Oak leaves stay on the tree over winter. Oak leaves on the ground are slow to decay, as this is a survival strategy to prevent the growth of other plants nearby. Oaks are monoecious with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers on the same tree. Oak is a favoured wood for flooring and furniture.


8 Oaks of University of Guelph Arboretum L to R: Shumard, Hill's, Bur, Chinquapin, Dwarf Chinquapin, Red, Swamp White, White. Missing: Black Oak and Pin Oak

In the Landscape
Swamp White Oak is a medium sized tree growing up to 22 metres high and can live to be 300 years old. It requires wet conditions. Oak leaves do not decay readily and will persist beneath the tree along with acorns.

TREE FACT: The tops of Swamp White Oak leaves are dark green and the undersides of leaves are light coloured, leading to the name "Quercus bicolour".


A roadside Swamp White Oak in Chatham-Kent
 

Leaves
The leaves have shallowly rounded lobes. The undersides of leaves are light coloured. Leaves turn dark red in the fall.
Bark
The bark is light grayish-brown and scaly.
Flowers:
Swamp White Oak is monoecious with male (pollen) flowers and female (seed) flowers on the same tree. Flowers occur in catkins .Flowers appear with the leaves and are wind pollinated.
Fruit
Good crops of acorns occur every 3 to 5 years, after 20 years of growth. Acorns mature over one growing season.

Wood
Oak wood is hard and heavy with a beautiful grain. It is used for furniture and flooring. Swamp White Oak wood is similar in appearance to White Oak and is often sold as that wood.
Specific gravity: 0.72
Janka Hardness: 1620 lb
Wood Comparison Chart


Swamp White Oak along Big Creek, Norfolk County

Link to United States Forest Service Silvics Manual for Swamp White Oak.

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