White Oak (Quercus alba)Genus Quercus / Family Fagaceae / Order Fagales / Class Magnoliopsida / Phylum Tracheophyta / Kingdom Plantae
An immense White Oak, over 18' in circumference, found at Andelot Farm, Kent Co., Maryland (6/7/2014). This large individual is probably what is known as a "wolf tree." It was probably left as shade for grazing cattle in an open pasture when this forest was last cleared. This explains both the great size, as well as the interesting shape. A tree in the open behaves much differently than a tree competing for sun in the forest. To maximize sun, it grows outward as much as upward, allowing its lower branches to capture more light. This of course requires structural reinforcement, which explains the extremely stout lower branches shown here.