Black Oak

Quercus velutina

Family Fagaceae


Notable Features
Leaves: Alternate* leaves dark green and glossy on the top, more dull and less shiny on the underside; moderately lobed* with bristle-tips*. Stellate hairs* visible on the underside of the leaves along the midrib* and in the angles formed by the intersection of the midrib and off-shooting veins. 4-10 inches (10 to 25 centimeters) in length.
Twigs/Buds: Twigs smooth and gray, with alternate buds* that are gray, hairy, sharply angled and pointed. ¼ to ½ inch in length.
Bark: The bark is a darker gray color, deeply furrowed* and ridged along the entire length of the tree. Sometimes the orange inner-bark is visible in the cracks of the outer bark.
Acorns: Acorns appear in mid to late autumn, with a bowl-shaped cap* that extends downward between a third and half the length of the entire acorn (likened to a “ski-cap”).
Size/Shape: A large tree that grows up to 80 feet (24 meters) in height, reaching diameters of 3 to 4 feet (1 to 1 1/4 meters).

Location on Campus

(click for map)

Located in the open area of the Ridgewood Quad, and around the grassy area behind the main entrance to Brandeis.

Uses
The inner white meat of the acorn is edible and nutritious, containing both protein and fat. The bitterness of the nuts, caused by the chemical tannin*, can be boiled out through several changes of water (a process called leaching*). The nuts can then be dried and eaten, dipped in a sugary syrup to make candy, or ground into a meal and used as a tasty flour for breads and muffins.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.