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Quercus ellipsoidalis E.J. Hill
Northern pin oak, Black oak, Hill's oak
USDA Symbol: QUEL
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
A medium-sized oak to 75 ft. with many forked branches forming a crown 3/4 the height. Bark dark gray-brown with shallow fissures producing thin plates, inner bark orange in color. Twigs are first covered with hairs and then become smooth and reddish-brown; terminal buds are a shiny reddishbrown with scales ciliated along the margin, slightly angled in cross section. Leaves smooth petiole 3/4 - 2 inches (19 - 51 mm); leaves are elliptical, 2 3/4 - 5 1/8 inches (70 - 130 mm) long, and 2 - 4 inches (51 - 101 mm) wide, the base is truncate and the apex is acute, margins have 5 - 7 deep lobes extending more than 1/2 the distance to midrib with bristlepointed teeth, upper surface is a shiny light green and paler below with minute axillary tufts of tomentum along the midvein. Leaves a scarlet red in the fall. Dried leaves remain through winter.
Commonly this oak grows with the beautiful pin oak, but it has none of the same elegance. Perhaps the easiest way to identify it is to discover its yellow inner bark, a trait which it shares with few other oaks. Northern pin oak is reduced to shrubby growth at the edge of its range. The largest known specimen grows in Bay Village, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Elliptic Leaf Venation: Pinnate Leaf Margin:
Lobed Leaf Apex: Acute Leaf Base: Truncate Breeding System:
, Monoecious Inflorescence: Catkin Fruit Type: Nut Size Notes:
grows to 66 feet (20.1 m), rarely to 130 feet (39.6 m). Leaf:
Upper surface is a shiny light green and paler below with minute axillary
tufts of tomentum along the midvein. Autumn Foliage:
Acorns biennial; outer surface of cup is grayish-brown or reddish-brown and pubescent,
inner surface is light brown and smooth, cup covers 1/3 - 1/2 of the nut; elliptical to ovoid nut
1/2 - 3/4 inches (13 - 19 mm) long, concentric apical
rings are infreq Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
IA , IL , IN , MI , MN , MO , ND , OH , WI Canada: ON Native Distribution:
Occurs from Ontario south to northern Missouri, and east to Ohio and Michigan. Native Habitat:
Dry uplands; pine barrens; savannas. Dry sandy soils sites in the northern and central boreal forest region; found associated with species of pine, oak, hickory, aspen, and black cherry.
USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Dry, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: The name refers to the ellipsoidal shape of the acorn. Slow-growing; long lived. Requires full sun. Susceptible to the deadly oak wilt. Do not prune in wilt-infested areas during the growing season. Prone to structural damage and decay.
Oaks are most often propagated from seed. No pretreatment is necessary. Plant immediately – outdoors or in deep containers to accomodate long initial taproot. Many oaks require cold temperatures to initiate shoot
development. Protect outdoor beds with Seed Collection:
Best quality acorns are picked or shaken from the tree. Collect when color has changed to brown. Best if sown immediately as acorns lose viability quickly in storage. Short-term storage in moist, shaded saw dust or sand. Acorns to be sown immediately can be soaked in hot water for 15 min. to prevent weevil infestation. Stored seed should be fumigated with methyl bromide. Seed Treatment:
Not Available Commercially Avail:
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Record Modified: 2011-09-25
Research By: TWC Staff