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Walk The Trail: Quincy Salt Marsh TrailStop 17

Black Oak - Quercus velutina

If you look closely, you will see the sand and gravel, left behind by the glaciers that receded from this area long ago. The little hills that appear here and throughout the marsh are called hummocks. The Black Oak does well in poor, dry rocky soil, as is apparent here. In good soil, it cannot compete as well with other species.

This stately tree has orange or yellowish inner bark that in the past was used for tanning leather. The hard wood of this tree has been used to make flooring, furniture, railroad ties, and as a source of fuel.

To identify a species of oak, it is often necessary to have the tree's acorns and cups, and some species are even difficult for botanists to recognize. In black oaks, the acorn cup is bowl-shaped, with rough edges that have fringe-like scales. Its leaves are somewhat thickened, with pointy, bristle-tipped lobes and a glossy upper surface, and are approximately 4 to 10 inches long. Individuals of this species may grow up to 80 feet tall.


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