Urban Tree of Merit: Overcup Oak

Overcup oak acorn Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
The underside of the overcup oak acorn. Photo by Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

Tree of Merit: Overcup Oak (Quercus lyrata)
Story by Cene Ketcham, Extension Arborist, Casey Trees

Overcup oak (Quercus lyrata)—sometimes known as swamp post oak or water white oak—is a tough shade tree in the white oak group. Though it can sometimes be difficult to source, its popularity for use along streets and in the landscape has been increasing—a testament to the growing interest in this species. At first glance, overcup oak is sometimes confused with swamp white oak (Q. bicolor), post oak (Q. stellata), or with its close relative, bur oak (Q. macrocarpa). Although it shares some attributes with these species, closer inspection reveals a tree with a character all its own. 

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