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Cherrybark Oak

Quercus pagoda


The cherrybark oak was once considered to be a variation of the southern red oak. Now recognized as a unique species, it is valuable not only for wildlife but also for timber. When grown in forests, the trunk is very tall and straight with strong wood. Fast growing bottomland tree. The scientific name "pagoda" refers to the leaf shape, which often resembles that of a pagoda with its pointed lobes.


Southeastern US.

Distribution Map


River bottoms, well-drained moist soils near swamps. Adaptable to upland sites and occasionally used in landscaping.


Dark green, with 5 to 9 pointed lobes. Underside is pale green and pubescent. Lobes are often tapered to a single point, but may occasionally be branched.

Cherrybark Oak


Brownish gray to almost black; coarsely fissured and somewhat flaky or rough, resembling the bark of a black cherry. Younger bark is smoother and becomes fissured with age.

Cherrybark Oak


Small (1/2" to 3/4"), round or slightly flattened, with a shallow cap covering 1/4 to 1/3 of the nut.

Cherrybark Oak


Look-alike oaks:

Southern Red Oak - pointed leaf lobes, bark, and acorns are similar in appearance. Southern red oak leaves, however, have a rusty color on the underside, while those of cherrybark oak are more of a whitish-green color underneath. Leaf shape of southern red oak is also more variable, ranging from pagoda-like to resembling a turkey foot or even a bell. Southern red oak also prefers high and dry habitat, while cherrybark oak prefers bottomlands.

Northern Red Oak - leaf shape may be very similar, with pointed lobes and sinuses only reaching about halfway to the midvein. However, northern red oak bark is not flaky, and often is ridged with pale gray "ski tracks." Northern red oak leaves are not pubescent underneath. Acorns of northern red oak are much larger than those of cherrybark oak.

Black Oak - bark and leaves may bare some resemblance at a glance. However, leaves of black oak are not as dark green, and undersides are not as pale in color. Black oak leaves lack the pagoda-like shape of cherrybark oak. Acorns of black oak are usually larger, with a flattened end, and a deeper cap. Black oak also favors rocky ridge country unlike cherrybark oak.

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