43. Bur Oak

(Quercus macrocarpa)

Other Common Names: Prairie oak, Mossycup Oak, Mossycup White Oak

Family: Fagaceae

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On the south side of Denny hall is a shaded corner dominated by a Bur Oak more than 80 feet (24.4 meters) tall whose straight, stout trunk develops into huge limbs high out of reach. These broad arms bear large leaves, dark green on top, pale underneath, and distinctive with their narrow "waists." Bur Oak is so-called since its acorns are in bristly husks. Also called prairie oak, it is native in central and eastern North America, and is the state tree of Illinois.


Bur Oak typically grows in the open away from a forest canopy. Having the largest acorns in North America, these fruits are valuable to wildlife species such as black bear, deer, porcupine, and cattle. Wildlife also eat the leaves, twigs, and bark. A mulch of dried leaves can be used to repel slugs and grubs; however a mulch of fresh leaves will inhibit plant growth. The wood is hard, durable, and close grained. It has been used in making baskets, flooring, cabinet making, and ship building.

[Leaves and acorns of Bur Oak]

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