Blue oak, mossycup oak, mossy-overcup oak, scrub oak
Michigan Native: Yes
A member of the Beech Family (Fagaceae), bur oak is a medium-sized to large tree, typically grows from 70 to 80 feet in height but can grow to 100 feet or more on better sites, with a massive trunk 2 to 3 feet in diameter and a broad, rounded crown of stout branches (Dirr 1998; Fowles 1965). The national Registry of Big Trees reports a specimen in Kentucky that is 99 feet tall and has a circumference of 295 inches and a crown spread of 127.5 inches (American Forests 2012). Shrubbier forms are found on bluffs and hillsides in the northwest part of the tree’s range (Nixon 1993); branches and branchlets with corky-winged projections.
The leaves are variable on the plant, alternate, deciduous, 2 to 6 inches wide and 4 to 10 inches long; shape is ovate to oblong; mostly obovate, shaped like a fiddle, tapering to a wedge-shaped base, widest above the middle, with 2– 3 rounded lobes on upper half of leaf and 5–7 deeper lobes on lower half of leaf, dark green above, gray-green below, turning yellow or brown in fall (Barkley 1986; Harlow et al. 1979; Stephens 1969).
2-3 ft. tall