White oak


No need to be shy! Although I may be the most magnificent tree in the woods, I am pleased to meet you. I am a white oak. Have you noticed the impressive width of my trunk? You should see how big my relatives can grow in an open field! Farmers appreciated the shade that we provided. I am the most valuable of all oak wood because I am most resistant to water and decay. There is one serious problem for me, though. The dreaded gypsy moth has attacked many members of my family in our area recently. Sadly we have not all survived.

If you have already met the hickory tree, disregard his boasting about firewood. I am actually the best firewood, long-lasting and hot. I’ll keep you very cozy throughout the winter!

My acorns are deliciously sweet. Native Americans boiled the nuts, then ground them into meal used to bake bread. Acorns from some white oaks are sweet enough to eat out of hand.

My wood was prized for house frames and fences.

My story is intertwined with the shipbuilding industry which consumed vast amounts of my wood. I was once plentiful here in Westport until they discovered how well suited I was to the construction of whaling ships and for barrel making. My wood was chosen for the USS Constitution (also known as Old Ironsides, thanks to her white oak hull that deflects cannonballs!). Shipbuilders looked for specific naturally occurring shapes of my branches to use as components of a ship.

I was such an important tree to the history of this country, I served you well in the USS Constitution.