How to Identify Oak Trees Using Acorns
Mississippi has quite an extensive list of native oak trees. With 34 different species found in the state, you may wonder how to tell which is which. Although there are many ways you can identify each oak, the trees’ acorns are a great indication of species. By looking at the acorn’s shape, color, and size, you’ll be able to identify which oak species it came from.
Here are five of the most common oak trees found in Mississippi and how to identify the species using its acorns:
- Live oak – Live oak acorns resemble the shape of a football and are ¾ to 1 inch long. Live oak acorns are generally a dark, reddish-brown color with caps that cover one-fourth of the acorn.
- Shumard oak – Shumard oaks produce large, egg-shaped acorns, typically 1 ¼ inches long and 1 inch wide.
- Southern red oak – Southern red oaks have small acorns, typically a ½ inch long. They are normally an orangish-brown color with a small cap that covers about a third of the acorn.
- Water oak – Water oaks have saucer-shaped acorns that are around a ½ inch long. These acorns come in a variety of colors -- anywhere from light brown to black. They have a thin shoot, or pubescent apex, at the bottom of the acorn that’s easy to identify.
- White oak – Acorns of white oaks are oblong shaped and around 1 ¼ inches long. They are typically light brown and have a thick warty, bowl-shaped cap.
The next time you’re on a walk this fall, pay close attention to the acorns on the ground and test your knowledge! If you want more information on how to identify oak trees, our neighbors at University of Tennessee Extension have a publication on how to identify oak trees using leaves, bark, and acorns!
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