Native Oak Tree Ranges in the United States

Oak is a tree in the genus Quercus of the beech family (Fagaceae).

The genus Quercus is native to the Northern Hemisphere and covers evergreen and deciduous species spreading from cold temperate to tropical latitudes in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. North America contains the most significant number of oak species, with around 90 growing in the U.S., while Mexico has 160 species, of which 109 are endemic. The second most significant center of oak diversity is China, which includes almost 100 species.

The map below sums up the whole of oak species growing in each region of the United States.

Native Oak Tree Ranges
Reddit user: Brennejm; Data: US Tree Atlas

The highest biodiversity of oak species occurs in the eastern United States. White oak (Quercus alba), is one of the most common oak species over almost all of the U.S. Eastern states.

The occurrence of place names that contain the word “Oak”

The occurrence of place names that contain the word "Oak"
Toponymic atlas of the U.S. (vividmaps.com)

Oaks do not grow in the central west of the United States. But there are fossil oaks discovered all over the territory of southern Idaho, eastern Oregon, and Nevada. This area had a diverse mixed forest 25 million years ago when this territory was less arid.

Oaks evolved at high latitudes as a much warmer climate period and were shifted to southern latitudes as the climate cooled during the Tertiary period. The western and eastern North American oak biodiversity represents isolated evolutionary lineages that took divergent ways, separated by the Rocky Mountains.

Oak diversity in Canada is comparatively low (it can be effortlessly extrapolated from the map above). Oak biodiversity is exceptionally high in some parts of Mexico, particularly the Sierra Madre Oriental. Those oak species in Mexico oak relate to the Eastern North American oak lineages.

Native oak species of the U.S

Quercus alba (White oak)
Quercus arizonica (Arizona white oak)
Quercus arkansana (Arkansas oak)
Quercus bicolor (Swamp white oak)
Quercus chapmanii (Chapman oak)
Quercus chrysolepis (Canyon live oak)
Quercus coccinea (Scarlet oak)
Quercus douglasii (Blue oak)
Quercus dunnii (Palmer oak)
Quercus durandii (Bastard Oak)
Quercus ellipsoidalis (Northern pin oak)
Quercus emoryi (Emory oak)
Quercus engelmannii (Engelmann oak)
Quercus falcata (Southern red oak)
Quercus gambelii (Gambel oak)
Quercus garryana (Oregon white oak)
Quercus georgiana (Georgia oak)
Quercus glaucoides (Lacey oak)
Quercus graciliformis (Chisos oak)
Quercus gravesii (Chisos red oak)
Quercus grisea (Gray oak)
Quercus havardii (Shinnery oak)
Quercus hypoleucoides (Silverleaf oak)
Quercus ilicifolia (Bear oak)
Quercus imbricaria (Shingle oak)
Quercus incana (Bluejack oak)
Quercus kelloggii (California black oak)
Quercus laevis (Turkey oak)
Quercus laurifolia (Laurel oak)
Quercus lobata (Valley oak)
Quercus lyrata (Overcup oak)
Quercus macdonaldii (MacDonald’s oak)
Quercus macrocarpa (Burr oak)
Quercus marilandica (Blackjack oak)
Quercus michauxii (Swamp chestnut oak)
Quercus mohriana (Mohr oak)
Quercus muehlenbergii (Chinkapin oak)
Quercus myrtifolia (Myrtle oak)
Quercus nigra (Water oak)
Quercus nuttallii (Nuttall oak)
Quercus oblongifolia (Arizona blue oak)
Quercus oglethorpensis (Oglethorpe oak)
Quercus palustris (Pin oak)
Quercus phellos (Willow oak)
Quercus prinus (Chestnut oak)
Quercus pungens (Sandpaper oak)
Quercus rubra (Northern red oak)
Quercus rugosa (Netleaf oak)
Quercus shumardii (Shumard oak)
Quercus stellata (Post oak )
Quercus tomentella (Island oak)
Quercus toumeyi (Toumey oak)
Quercus turbinella (Shrub oak)
Quercus velutina (Black oak)
Quercus virginiana (Southern live oak)
Quercus wislizeni (Interior live oak)

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