23 Types of Oak Trees by Leaf: Identification Guide (Chart, Pictures)

Unique types of oak trees by leaf identification guide showing how to identify an oak tee by its leaf.

Did you know that you can identify types of Oak trees by leaf?

It’s true. Oak tree leaves can be very distinctive, and you can learn how to differentiate the various tree species by its leaf shape and other aspects.

Typically, there are similar aspects from sub-groups of one species to another. And although some species may have similar leaves, it is essential to cross-check other characteristics, such as the acorn, to determine where a particular species flourish based on the geographic location and terrain.

This article provides a comprehensive Oak tree leaf identification chart, guide and pictures to help you to differentiate various Oak varieties based on their general characteristics. This guide will not only help you to quickly determine the Oak variety growing within your location.

Unlike Dogwood Tree Leaves, types of Oak Tree leaves can be extremely varied.

Types of Oak Trees Leaves

There are various types of Oak tree leaves based on tree variety.10 These leaves may come with unique tips, colors, shapes, and sizes. The following are some common types you can commonly see:

#1 Live Oak Leaves (Live Oak Tree Leaves)

The Live Oak trees are a standard timber and ornamental tree species in North America. These trees derive their name because they are evergreen and quickly sprout when cut.

The leaves can extend from 2″ to 4″ long, depending on the tree’s age.

Close image of live oak leaves.

(Image: Larry Allain, U.S. Geological Survey19)

These leaves remain on the tree during winter and form new ones in the spring.6

Shape: Unlobed and glossy
Top Color: Dark green
Underneath Color: Hairy and whitish.

#2 White Oak Leaves

The lateral lobes extend to the mid-vein by a third to an eighth this distance, and the lobes have a rounded tip.1 These leaves also have a bright gray-green upper surface and a whitish underside with upright hairs that vanish after the leaf matures.

Further, these leaves from the tree’s juvenile part resemble those of a Swamp Bur Oak and White Oak.1

Color: Yellow which turns to yellowish-red during the fall
Secondary veins: Arched
Shape: Ovate with a narrow wedge-shaped triangular base forming towards the short stalk
Number of lobes: about 7 to 10 lobes ascending like fingers and have a round apex to the leaf’s top

Close image of Red oak tree with blurred background.

(Image: Ylloh20)

#3 Red Oak Leaves

Sometimes flourishing up to 90 feet high, these trees also produce acorns that take up to two years to mature and have a bitter and unpalatable taste. Typically, they measure about 5” to 9” (12-22cm) long.1

The Red Oak is a classic tree has leaves with multiple lobes and rounded crowns. Its leaves shift to vibrant red in the fall and rich green in summer and spring.

Shape: Lobed and pointed tips with tiny bristles
Top Color: Vibrant red in fall and rich green in summer and spring
Number of Lobes: Multi-lobes

#4 Pin Oak Leaves (Pin Oak Leaf)

The Pin Oak leaves have rounded, irregular sinuses and the lobe’s most significant part forms a U-shape. Their lobes also have pointed bristle tips.

Both the top and lower surface lack hair, although some flocks of brown hair are in the veins. Also, if the base is truncate-shaped, the base’s lobes are often recurved.

These leaves can be identified by their elliptical glossy green, 5 inches in length. These leaves also turn pale brown or yellow during autumn.2

Shape: Oblong and elliptic
Color: (Top) Bright, shiny green (Lower surface) pale green
Number of lobes: 5-7 deep lobes cutting nearly to the midvein

#5 Bur Oak Leaves (Bur Oak Leaf)

The Bur Oak leaf is a member of the broad White Oak group that is characterized by rounded lobes. Also, this leaf has deep sinuses close to its center, which splits it into two.

Close image of bur oak leaves

(Image: Dan Keck21)

The fall buds are grouped and appear to be a ⅛-¼ inch long and are covered with gray, pale, fine hairs. During the fall, these leaves turn rusty brown.1

Shape: Oval-shaped and broad center
Color: Dark green top, lighter green, and gray underneath
Number of lobes: Multiple rounded lobes, and a large-sized rounded tip resembling a crown

Bur Oak Leaf Arrangement

The Bur Oak leaf arrangement depicts an alternate appearance. These leaves are typically arranged on two vertical rows on the stem’s opposite side at an angle of 180 degrees. In other words, this tree produces one leaf per node.5

#6 Black Oak Leaves (Black Oak Leaf)

Typically, these trees grow between 70 and 100 feet tall and have a wide diameter that ranges between 3 and 4 feet. The Black Oak leaves are their basic identifying features which are generally shiny at their top, distinguishing them from other Red Oak varieties.

They have an orange inner bark that is slightly red compared to the northern red Oak.1

Size: 5-10 inches” long, and 3-8″ comprehensive
Color: Dark and shiny green on top and pale and noticeably fuzzy underneath
Number of lobes: 5-7 deep or shallow-cut bristle-tipped lobes

Oak Leaves Types

Typically, oak trees can be identified by their unique lobed leaves. Red oak leaves have pointed tips while white oak leaves support rounded tips. An oak leaf identification chart can help you understand this better.

Pin Oak Tree

Among the over 15 types of Oak trees by leaf, the Pin Oak can be identified by its downward-branching lower branches.11 The Pin Oak tree is a fast-growing species and flourishes in wet soils and full sunlight. They have glossy dark green leaves that turn red, russet, or bronze and can extend to a spread of 60” to 70”.

Types of White Oak

There are various types of White Oak varieties across the globe. This tree species is globally-recognized due to its unquestionable durability and strength. The following are the typical White Oak varieties you can easily find across the world and their distinguishing characteristics:

Quercus Robur

Also known as European Oak, Pedunculate Oak, or Common Oak, this is a flowering Oak variety belonging to the beech family. It has a spreading growth habit and grows up to 50 ft. high.

Its leaves have the following features:

Shape: Ovate
Length: 5-12 Inches
Color: Dark green top and bluish green underneath
Number of Lobes: 3-6 Pairs

Quercus Alba

Quercus Alba is another White Oak tree that belongs to the beech family and is native to Europe. It has a height of 40 to 80 ft. and has a round trunk. Its leaves have unique characteristics which include:

Shape: Funnel-shaped
Length: 9-20 cm
Color: Dark green
Number of lobes: 7- 9

Quercus Bicolor

This is a hybrid of Quercus Robur and Quercus Alba, and it is commonly found in North America. It has a height ranging from 30 to 60 ft. and has a spreading growth habit.

Its leaves have the following features:

Shape: Wedge
Length: 3-7 inches
Width: 1.25-4 inches
Color: Shiny green
Underneath: Hairy underneath

Quercia Petraea

It is also called Sessile Oak because of its characteristic drooping branches. It is a deciduous tree that grows up to 45 ft. high and has spreading growth habits. Its leaves have the following characteristics:

Shape: Sinuate
Color: Olive green
Length: 14 cm
Margin: Smooth

Quercus Garryana

Quercus Garryana is a shrub Oak that belongs to the beech family. It is native to South Africa and has a height of 20 to 25 ft. Its leaves have the following features:

Shape: Round lobed
Color: Dark green
Length: 5-12 cm

Types of White Oak Leaves

Various types of White Oak leaves vary from one variety to another. Here are the most common types you can easily find around:

Fresh green leaves of an Eastern white oak tree with their rounded lobes, in a forest floor littered with fallen leaves.

(Image: lynnharper26)

#7 Eastern White Oak Leaves

The eastern white Oak leaves are alternate and simple and come with an elliptical shape.12 These leaves are 10-23 cm long and they have shallow, deep, angled, or perpendicular sinuses extending to the midvein.

These leaves also have different sinuses on the same leaf.

Shape: Elliptical
Color: Hairless shiny green top and a whitened underneath
Number of lobes: 5-9 rounded hairless lobes

#8 Swamp White Oak Leaves

This leaf’s bicolor on the top surface and underneath gives this tree the swamp white Oak name. This leaf’s twigs are lustrous and green. However, they turn brown or light orange colored by the first winter.7

Size: Large (5-7 inches long)
Color: Dark green top and shiny white underneath
Number of lobes: Multiple shallow and rounded lobes

#9 Northern White Oak Leaves

The Northern White Oak leaves come in different shapes and sizes. These leaves come with bumpy scales lacking bristles. They have short petioles.

Shape: Various shapes
Size: 5 to 9 inches long
Number of lobes: Multiple bristle-pointed lobes

#10 European White Oak Leaves

The European White Oak leaves are delicate compared to rounded lobed leaf Oak.

Size: Up to 10cm long
Color: Deep green
Number of lobes: 9 rounded lobes

White Oak Identification

The White Oak identification is a straightforward procedure.13 This White Oak variety can grow to a height above 100 feet and last for 500 years. The charter Oak and the Wye Oak are the typical White Oak varieties in eastern America.

These trees have light-colored bark and intensively-lobed leaves that are easy to identify. White Oaks can stretch to large diameters. Also, their barks are ashy gray to off-whitish, while older trees have almost smooth barks.

White Oaks can easily be identified by looking at their leaves. Most White Oak trees have deeply lobed leaves rounded at the tips. During the fall, the whole tree turns purple to scarlet.

White Oak Acorn

White Oak Acorns are known to mature faster compared to the Red Oak acorns.

These acorns take roughly one season to mature and are slightly smaller and lighter compared to the Red Oak acorns. Additionally, White Oak acorns have a slightly bitter and sweet taste.

Oak Leaf

The Oak leaf is a prominent classifying feature of the Oak tree variety. These leaves come in various colors, sizes, shapes, lobes, and top and underneath textures. Also, they enable you to determine the growth habits and the tree’s ecological requirements.

Large Oak Tree

A Large Oak Tree can be measured based on its trunk’s circumference, diameter, and height. This can be easily achieved using a tape measure, whereas a large tree will require a long tape measure. Generally, these tapes are used to determine the diameter and the circumference by being wrapped around the trunk.3

An image of tree canopy during sunny day.

(Image: Bluesnap22)

A large Oak tree is any tree above 60 feet tall with a diameter of 28 feet. Since the Oak tree is a hardwood tree that requires a long time to grow, this tree can be over 100 years old. There are several factors on how to tell how old the tree is. However, this age may vary from one variety to another based on the tree’s growth rate.3

The Largest Oak Tree in Louisiana

The Seven Sisters Oak is a giant Oak tree in Louisiana. This tree has a circumference of about forty feet and is 57 feet tall, and its branches can cover a half-football field. Currently, this tree is the president of the live Oak society.

Largest Oak Tree in America

The largest oak tree in America is located in Mandeville, Louisiana. The Aforementioned Seven Sisters Oak is the largest tree in America. This tree is about 57 feet tall and has a circumference of about forty feet.

Largest Oak Tree in California

The largest Oak tree in California is the Valley Oak tree. This tree is over 100 feet high and has lived for about 300 years. This Valley Oak tree grows between the rivers and creeks in the valleys near Central Valley and the California Coast.4

Largest White Oak Tree

The old Wyne Oak in Maryland is the giant White Oak on the record.14 This tree is about 500 years old, measures 31 feet and 10 inches in circumference, and has a 96 feet tall height. This tree’s crown spreads to about 119 feet.

Read More About: Cottonwood Tree Bark Guide: Tip to Spot a Cottonwood 100% of the Time

Post Oak Leaf

The Post Oak leaf is a simple, alternate leaf with 4-7″ length, 3-4″ width, and 3-5 lobes. Its lobes are squarish in the middle, resembling a cross, and have three deep notches. Also, this leaf is rounded with a dark green upper surface and a paler underneath with tiny star-shaped hairs.

#11 Water Oak Leaves (Water Oak Leaf)

The Water Oak leaves are simple, alternate, and tardily deciduous that remain on the tree until mid-winter. They come in different shapes, with the most common shape being a spatula shape with a narrow-wedge base and rounded at the top.

Shape: Various shapes
Color: Blue-green color
Size: 2-6 cm broad and 3-12 cm long

Their margins greatly vary from smooth to shallow lobed with bristled tips and apex. And it turns yellow in the Autumn and can maintain this color in the winter.

Types of Oak Trees in Texas

Oak trees are well-known for their large trunks, acorns, and unique leaves.They’re also great carbon sinks, capturing emissions from the air, which makes them a great tree to plant to help the environment. For as long as we take one step at a time to help, like using sustainable backpacks and compostable trash bags, we will make a difference. And even one tree makes a difference.

Each of these trees comes with unique characteristics and ecological requirements. Here are some of the types of Oak trees in Texas:

Red Oak

This tree tolerates direct sunlight and maneuvers in drought, polluted air, and dry soil.

Red Oaks are loved since they do not require frequent cleaning of acorns at their base. Most of them start producing acorns at the age of 40 years.8

Live Oaks

Live Oaks are well-known for their sprawling branches and wide canopies.15

An image of live oak during sunny day.

(Image: iris4me23)

These trees grow up to 60 feet tall at a growth rate of 2 feet per year. These trees love direct sunlight but can also grow in partial shade.8

Live Oaks are well-adapted to loamy, acidic, clay, and moist soils. These trees produce acorns that attract quails, squirrels, raccoons, and deer. Live Oaks flourish in Texas but can also grow in Georgia.8

Bur Oak Trees in TX

The bur Oak is among the enormous trees you will find in Texas.16 This tree can grow up to 100 feet in height at maturity. Also, this tree has long, fin-type leaves, and it can thrive in harsh conditions with heat stress and air pollution, but it requires sunlight to flourish.8

#12 Mexican Oak Leaves

The Mexican Oak is the favorite tree at the University of Texas, Austin. It is suitably adapted to the warm Texas climate and has a fast growth rate of four feet per year. This makes it attain a mature height of 40-45 feet in a smaller yard.8

Close image of mexican oak leaves with blurred background.

(Image: Austin Texas Gov24)

The Mexican Oak leaves are quite different compared to other over 15 types of Oak trees by leaf. Here are some of its features:

Shape: Oval-shaped
Color: Semi-evergreen with yellowish underside (veins)
Size: 2-5 inches long

#13 Chinquapin Oak Leaves

The chinquapin Oak grows up to 70 feet tall. This tree has a round crown which makes it provides adequate shade. Typically, its leaves flourishes in full sunlight and deep soil, turning into a gorgeous rust color.8 Check out Chinquapin Oak leaf’s features:

Shape: Oblong-shaped with sharp teeth
Color: Dark yellowish-green
Size: 4-6 inches long

Close up image of lacey oak leaves.

(Image: Austin Texas Gov25)

#14 Lacey Oak Leaves

The Lacey Oak is a smaller variety that grows to a mature height of 20-30 feet. Most Texas residents love planting this tree for its suitability in small yards and to reduce eco-footprint. This tree has attractive round canopy leaves and some of these features:8

Shape: Rounded edges
Color: Blue-green
Size: 2-5 inches long, and up to 2 inches wide

Types of Oak Trees in Florida

There are various types of Oak trees in Florida.17 Each has unique characteristics, features, and ecological requirements. Here are the most common species you will quickly notice:

The Bur Oak is among the most common Oak species recognized by leaf. This tree grows to a height between 70 and 90 feet and, in most cases, has thick trunks which can grow to a seven feet diameter. Generally, its leaves turn from green to red shades and copper during the fall.

A close-up of the leathery, oblong leaves of a Bluejack oak tree in a forest.

(Image: autrpy27)

#15 Bluejack Oak Leaves

The Bluejack Oak has leaves featuring a pointed tip, smooth edges, and silvery fuzz-covered undersides.

This tree requires direct sunlight and is well-adapted to wildfires and drought.

The leaves also have these characteristics:

Shape: Elliptic
Color: Blue-green
Size: Around 10cm long

#16 Blue Japanese Oak Leaves

The Blue Japanese Oak is a relatively short tree growing to 25 to 40 feet tall. Unlike other large Oaks, this tree has a dense canopy. This tree is an evergreen Oak with this leaf features:

Shape: Elliptic
Size: 2-5 inches long
Color: Purple (when young), shiny green (when they age)

#17 Bluff Oak Leaves

The Bluff Oak is among the most-loved Oaks by landscapers due to its uniform and upright branches, which drop to the ground. This tree provides easy walking clearance along sidewalks and streets and does not require complicated pruning.

Shape: Elliptic
Color: Bright green
Size: 2-5 inches long

#18 Darlington Oak Leaves

Darlington Oak flourishes within drier environments in Texas, Virginia, and Florida. It can live for up to 90 years and attain 100 feet at maturity. This tree has long, thin, and leathery leaves and some of these features:

Shape: Narrowly elliptic
Size: 2-5 inches long
Color: Dark green top and bright green underneath

A cluster of shiny, elongated leaves of the Darlington oak.

(Image: kemper28)

Types of Oak Trees in California

There are various types of Oak trees in California, including shrub and tree species.18 These tree varieties include:

#19 Canyon Live Oaks Leaves

The Live Canyon Oaks are evergreen Oak varieties commonly found in steep canyons and foothills. These trees have glossy dark green upper surfaces and prominent spines. Typically, this tree regenerates by clonal diversity and basal sprouting.9 The leaves have these characteristics:

Shape: Oblong-elliptic
Color: Shiny dark green top
Size: 2-8 cm. long

#20 Blue Oak Leaves

The Blue Oak generally flourishes in hot and dry foothills. This tree grows to a height of 30 feet and can live for up to 450 years.9 And has these leaf features:

Shape: Round or oval shape
Color: Blue-gray
Size: 1-3 inches long

A close-up of the tough, leathery leaves of the interior live oak, with their spiny edges and glossy surface.

(Image: jzupan29)

#21 Interior Live Oak Leaves

The Interior Live Oak is an evergreen Oak variety that thrives in hot, dry canyons.

This variety is widely compatible with vines, native trees, perennial herbs, and annual wildflowers.

Generally, this tree can grow to 10-22 m tall.9 Interior Live Oak tree leaf has these features:

Shape: Oblong-elliptic
Color: Shiny Dark green top surface
Size: 2.5-4 cm. inches long

#22 Oregon Oak Leaves

The Oregon Oak is a beech family member stretching from the Pacific Northwest to British Columbia. This Oak grows at an altitude of 690 feet within the northern range.9 See below for its leaf characteristics.

Shape: Lobed with rounded tips
Size: 2-6 inches long
Color: Dark green top and pale underneath

#23 Coast Live Oak Leaves

The Coast Live Oak is mainly found in the grassland savannas and coastal fog zones. This tree is an evergreen variety that can live for up to 300 years. Generally, it stabilizes on organic-rich soil and contributes to a habitat of birds, insects, and mammals.9 Coast Live Oak leaf has these features:

Shape: Oval
Color: Dark green
Size: 2-7 cm. long

There are various Oak trees, each with unique features, characteristics, and ecological requirements and with the right information, they can be easily identified in unique locations with different growth rates.

Planting these trees will greatly help the environment and will surely make an impact in your carbon footprint. You can start by tree planting for carbon offsetting that is best in your location. Then, you can also look for carbon offset organizations that can help you with your goals.

With this complete guide, you’ll be able to identify types of oak trees by leaf in no time!


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