Cherrybark Oak

Cherrybark Oak

Quercus pagoda Raf.


Cherrybark oak (family Fagaceae) is a large deciduous tree that can reach heights of 130 feet. ³   As the gray bark matures, it sometimes forms plates resembling that of black cherry, hence the common name.  The leaves are alternate on the stem and have 5 to 11 lobes that are opposite and resemble a pagoda from which the scientific name comes.  The leaves are 5 to 8 inches long and 3 to 5 inches wide.³  The lobes are bristle-tipped and are cut about one-half way to the midrib. ¹  The leaf base is wedge-shaped rather than rounded. 7   Showers are monoecious with male and female flowers on the same tree.¹  The acorns are 0.5 inch long with the upper one-third covered by the cap. ³

The bark of a Cherrybark Oak in Somerset Co., Maryland (6/24/2014).

Bark of cherry bark oak.  @ J. Brighton, Maryland Plant Atlas. ²

Cherrybark Oak in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (9/27/2020). (c) Wayne Longbottom, some rights reserved (<a rel='license' href=''>CC BY-NC</a>).

Leaves and acorns of cherry bark oak.  W. Longbottom, Maryland Plant Atlas ²


Cherrybark oak is found in the Southeastern US from Maryland to Florida and west to Texas and north up the Mississippi River valley to Illinois. ³  Found in bottomland forests, it is largely confined to well drained soils. ¹  In  Maryland  cherrybark oak is distributed on the Coastal Plain of Southern Maryland  and the Eastern Shore. ²

The range of Quercus pagoda

Distribution of cherry bark oak.  Trees of North Georgia. 5

Wildlife Importance

Cherry bark oak acorns are consumed in quantity by numerous birds including wild turkey, blue jay, wood duck, red-bellied woodpecker and redheaded woodpecker. ¹  Additionally, several mammals such as deer, eastern fox squirrel and racoons consume the acorns. ¹  The leaves are host to several leafhoppers (Eratoneura app.), bugs, beetles and weavels, all ow which attract numerous insectivorous birds. 7 The tree is considered to have a high wildlife value. 7

Economic Importance

The wood of cherry bark oak is rated superior to the oaks of the southern United States and can be used for cabinets, furniture and veneer. 6  Because of its self-pruning growth habit , cherry bark oak grows relatively knot free, which increases its value. 7 It is fast growing compared to other oaks and is as an excellent landscape tree. 6


Cherrybark oaks are susceptible to wood-boring insects such as the carpenter worm and red oak borer. ¹  Like many oaks, cherry bark oak is affected by the oak wilt fungus (Ceratocystis fagacearum). ¹

Interesting Facts

  • Cherrybark oak does not begin producing acorns until it is approximately 25 years old. ¹
  • The largest cherry bark oak in Maryland is in Queen Anne’s County and is 109 feet tall and 75 inches in diameter. 4


  1. USDA NRCS Plant Guide:  Cherrybark oak
  2. Maryland Plant Atlas:  Quercus pagoda
  3. North Carolina Extension:  Quercus pagoda
  4. Maryland Big Trees
  5. Guide to the Trees of North Georgia and Adjacent States:  Quercus pagoda
  6. Missouri Department of Conservation:  Cherrybark oak
  7. Illinois Wildflowers;  Cherrybark oak

Towson University Glen Arboretum

Towson University