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Quercus alba - L.
                 
Common Name White Oak, Hybrid oak
Family Fagaceae
USDA hardiness 3-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry woods[43], gravelly ridges, sandy plains, rich uplands and moist bottoms[82]. The best specimens are found in deep rich well-drained loamy soils[229].
Range Eastern N. America - Maine to Florida, west to Texas and Minnesota.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary
Bloom Color: Brown. Form: Pyramidal, Rounded.

Quercus alba White Oak, Hybrid oak


Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Quercus alba White Oak, Hybrid oak
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Quercus alba is a deciduous Tree growing to 20 m (65ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Synonyms

Habitats
Woodland Garden Canopy;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses: Coffee.

Seed - raw or cooked[226]. Somewhat sweet[229]. The seed is about 1 - 3cm long[200] and ripens in its first year[235]. It contains about 6% protein and 65% carbohydrates[213]. It is low in tannin and needs little if any leaching. It is said that those seeds with red or pink blotches on the shell are the sweetest[183]. Any bitter tannins can be leached out by thoroughly washing the dried and ground up seed in water, though many minerals will also be lost. It can take several days or even weeks to properly leach whole seeds, one method was to wrap them in a cloth bag and place them in a stream. Leaching the powder is quicker. A simple taste test can tell when the tannin has been leached. The traditional method of preparing the seed was to bury it in boggy ground overwinter. The germinating seed was dug up in the spring when it would have lost most of its astringency. The seed can be roasted and then eaten, its taste is something like a cross between sunflower seeds and popcorn[183]. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute that is free from caffeine[226].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiseptic;  Astringent;  Tonic.

White oak was often used medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes, who valued it especially for its antiseptic and astringent properties and used it in the treatment of many complaints[257]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. The inner bark contains 6 - 11% tannin, it has powerful antiseptic and astringent properties and is also expectorant and tonic[61, 102, 213, 257]. The bark is boiled and the liquid drunk in the treatment of bleeding piles and diarrhoea, intermittent fevers, coughs and colds, consumption, asthma, lost voice etc[213, 257]. The bark has been chewed as a treatment for mouth sores[257]. Externally, it is used as a wash for skin eruptions, burns, rashes, bruises, ulcers etc and as a vaginal douche[222, 257]. It has also been used as a wash for muscular pains[257]. The bark is best collected in the spring[213]. Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc[4].
Other Uses
Fuel;  Repellent;  Tannin;  Wood.

A mulch of the leaves repels slugs, grubs etc, though fresh leaves should not be used as these can inhibit plant growth. The bark is a rich source of tannin[171, 226]. Oak galls are excrescences that are sometimes produced in great numbers on the tree and are caused by the activity of the larvae of different insects. The insects live inside these galls, obtaining their nutrient therein. When the insect pupates and leaves, the gall can be used as a rich source of tannin, that can also be used as a dyestuff[4]. A brown dye is obtained from the bark or from the galls, it does not require a mordant[226]. Yellow, chrome and gold can also be obtained if mordants are used[226]. Wood - strong, very heavy, hard, tough, close grained, durable[46, 82, 171, 213, 227]. It weighs about 46lb per cubic foot[227]. One of the most important timbers in N. America, it is used for cabinet making, construction, agricultural tools etc, and is also a good fuel[46, 82, 171, 213]. Highly valued for making the staves of barrels for storing wine and liquor[274].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Firewood, Pest tolerant, Specimen, Street tree. Prefers a good deep fertile loam which can be on the stiff side[1, 11]. Lime tolerant[188]. Young plants tolerate reasonable levels of side shade[200]. Tolerates moderate exposure, surviving well but being somewhat stunted[200]. The white oak prefers warmer summers than are usually experienced in Britain, trees often grow poorly in this country and fail to properly ripen their wood resulting in frost damage over the winter[200]. There are, however, a number of trees 20 metres tall in Britain, mainly in the south-east of the country[11]. Sometimes cultivated for its edible seed, there are some named varieties[183]. Trees take about 30 years before they start to bear good crops of seed, they then have heavy crops about every 3 years with light crops in the other years[227]. They continue to yield commercial crops for about 120 years[227]. The tree flowers on new growth produced in spring, the seed ripening in its first year[200, 229]. Intolerant of root disturbance, trees should be planted in their permanent positions whilst young, though they may require protection for the first winter or two[11]. Hybridizes freely with other members of the genus[200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features:Attracts birds, North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Propagation
Seed - it quickly loses viability if it is allowed to dry out. It can be stored moist and cool overwinter but is best sown as soon as it is ripe in an outdoor seed bed, though it must be protected from mice, squirrels etc. Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold frame. Plants produce a deep taproot and need to be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible, in fact seed sown in situ will produce the best trees[11]. Trees should not be left in a nursery bed for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved or they will transplant very badly.

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Other Names
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Weed Potential

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Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
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Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
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Quercus cerrisTurkey Oak, European turkey oak32
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123
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Expert comment
 
Author
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Botanical References
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Links / References
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Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
F.Fuller Thu Nov 8 2007
Can Quercus alba be purchased in the UK if so which nursery? Also is quercus alba hardy enough to grow in East Anglia. Thanks.
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Subject : Quercus alba  

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