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Plants We Love: Bur Oak

Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is a native oak with very large acorns and a nice shape.

Common name: Bur oak

Botanical name:
Quercus macrocarpa

Acorns of bur oak, Quercus macrocarpa

Virtues: Excellent large shade tree. Adaptable and drought tolerant. Unique-looking acorns. Super cold hardy.

Large dark green leaves are typically 6 to 12 inches long. Typical oak-leaf shape, but with rounded edges. Turns yellowish brown in fall.

Fruit: Large oval acorns appear in the fall. Their caps are very large, sometimes covering three-quarters of the nut, and covered with a tan, mossy-textrued coat, or bur.

Habit: Deciduous tree, 60 to 80 feet tall with a 60 to 80 foot canopy. The canopy has a nicely rounded shape.

Season: Spring through fall as a shade tree.

Origin: Prairies, woods and stream edges of the central US and Canada.

Cultivation: Grow in full sun. Adapts to many soil types and conditions. Tolerates drought. USDA Zones 2–8.

Bur oak Quercus macrocarpa

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Top image public domain

Bottom image courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder