White oak (Quercus alba)
White oak, the state tree of Illinois, is a slow-growing picturesque native tree that was once extensively logged for its valuable wood. It grows into a massive, broad-branching tree of up to 80 feet high. Its crown rounds out into a lovely canopy, and its leaves have curved lobes, in contrast to the sharp teeth of red oaks. Gnarled branches emanating from a straight thick trunk with scaly gray bark bear dark green leaves that turn deep red-purple in fall. The fruit of this tree, the acorn, appears in the fall and is much relished by squirrels. The white oak holds its leaves for an extended period, often into the winter. This majestic oak is noted for its longevity, with trees more than 300 years old not uncommon, if grown under ideal conditions. Though not a tree for the inner city, white oak makes a handsome open-grown specimen for large residential gardens and parks.