Winter Shrub ID: Scrub Oak

Photo of Scrub Oak leaves and twig

Oak trees, in the genus Quercus, are common and widespread in New England. They produce mast, called acorns, that is highly prized by many insects, birds, and mammals, including this human. Locally, Scrub Oak (Quercus ilicifolia, also called Bear Oak) is one of the only native shrubby oaks and claims a niche primarily on exposed hills and rocky powerline cuts. As is common among oaks, this species will often have marcescent leaves, which are dead leaves that remain on branches into winter. These leaves are noticeably white on the undersides. Young twigs of Scrub Oak are covered with soft hairs and feature lateral and terminal buds of similar size.

Photo of Scrub Oak twig with buds

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