White Oak (Quercus alba)




Other common names for this tree are Stave Oak, Eastern White Oak, Stone Oak and Four-Leaf Oak.

White Oak-Tate, Ga.

The White Oak will grow in a wide range of soils that are well drained and loamy.  You will find unusual hybrids because it crosses easily with other oak species.   It can grow 60-80 feet tall and four feet in diameter.   It prefers full sun and blooms in May.   The species name “alba” means white and refers to the light ash grey bark.

White Oak-leaves and acorns

The Cherokee would use the acorns to make flour.  They contain about 6% protein and 65% carbohydrates.   Before eating the Cherokee would either boil them several times, hang them in porous sacks in running streams for several weeks or bury them in boggy ground for several weeks.  This is the only way they knew to remove the high tannin content of the acorns.    The bark was used in basket making.   The Cherokee would make a tea from the bark to treat diarrhea an skin irritations.   The bark was also used as an antiseptic and a wash for the body to treat chills and fever.

White Oak-Richland 2014

The Cherokee would also “train” these trees to grow in such a way that the limbs would later become directional trees to mark trails for the Cherokee along with a direction toward a water source.   Google trail trees for more information  Mountain Stewards Org. has the most extensive information about these directional trees.


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