Oak Trees in Arkansas: Native and Non Native Varieties

Oak trees are one of the most common types of trees found in Arkansas, but not all oak trees are the same. In fact, there are about 29 different variations of the oak tree in Arkansas alone. Some of these are native species, while others come from other areas of the world.

Native Trees

Oak Trees in Arkansas

Below are a few of the native oak tree species that grow in the state of Arkansas. 

Maple Leaf Oak 

The maple leaf oak gets its name from the similarity of its leaves to the common maple tree – though maple leaf oaks are much less common. 

The maple leaf oak tree is native to Arkansas and can be found in just four places in the world – all of which are in the state. Its wide leaves have three to five lobes. 

Overcup Oak 

The overcup oak is often hailed as one of the best oak trees for landscaping. This widespread tree is native to several states, starting from the east coast and extending along waterways out to Arkansas and Tennessee. 

It’s a very uniform-looking oak that adapts well. Its medium size makes it ideal for yards and the thick leaves offer a rich green color with beautiful fall foliage. 

Arkansas Oak

This native tree is appropriately named the Arkansas oak. Not only is it native to AK, but also other southeastern states like Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana. 

The species grows close to 50 feet tall and sports black bark with often unlobed leaves. Unlike many other oak species, this tree loves shade and grows well in towering pine forests that protect it from the sun. 

Swamp Chestnut Oak

The swamp chestnut oak falls under the category of white oaks. Also known as the basket oak, this tree has very distinguishable, oval leaves with several lobes. These leaves turn a lovely, bold shade of red in the fall and make a lovely landscaping option. 

Swamp chestnut oak trees are native to the southeastern United States, which includes Arkansas along with Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and more.

Non-Native Trees

Oak Trees in Arkansas

These trees are present in Arkansas but are native to other areas of the United States. 

Black Oak 

Although the black oak tree is prevalent throughout Arkansas, it’s actually native to Kentucky. The black oak is a part of the red oak group of trees, featuring lobed, bi-colored leaves and black bark.

This tree grows well in poor soil and can grow up to 60 feet tall. It’s a winter hardy tree with beautiful fall foliage. 

Cherry Bark Oak

The cherry bark oak is an impressive species of oak tree found in Arkansas. This tree is native to North and South Carolina, though you can find it throughout several states including Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia, and more.

Cherry Barks can grow as tall as 130 feet and have trunks with a diameter of up to 5 feet. They produce large, edible acorns and small, yellow-green flowers. 

Northern Red Oak 

Another common transplant in the Arkansas oak family is the northern red oak. This tree is native to Illinois, specifically in the Chicago area. At maturity, it can reach about 75 feet in height and often attracts wildlife like game birds, migrant birds, and small mammals. 

The tree transplants well, displaying leaves with 7 to 11 lobes and grayish branches.

Final Thoughts

Oak trees are very common, but not many people are aware that there are so many different species under this umbrella of arboriculture. If you live in Arkansas, you might be able to identify a few of the oak trees on our list above.