College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Technology

The Trees Themselves

The pdf document here lists the trees made available to the public for 2010 and in previous years. Because it is up to the trees themselves to decide whether they will reproduce in any particular year, our Maryland Day plant list. changes. 

If you have attended a Great Oaks tree giveaway chances are your trees came from one of these sources

White Oak

We give out many white oaks each year, though some are from some impressively large trees, others are from much younger white oaks whose owners like the Great Oaks concept and want to participate by sharing acorns. We’d love to be able to grow seedling from trees from all over the state. By all means send us your material!

Maryland, Illinois and Connecticuit have all selected White Oak as their state tree. No other tree species in the East is able to spread its branches wide. The U.S.S. Constitution, ‘old ironsides’ is built, partially, out of white oak.

St Joseph’s  Oak 

Linden Oak 

Travilah Oak

 The Travilah Oak is one of the most beautiful trees in the State. Located on the grounds of a small shopping area in Potomac, MD, at the corner of Glenn and Travilah roads, its worth the trip, and the shopping center’s deli can provide a welcome lunch to eat under the tree on a weekend afternoon. The local community celebrates ‘Travilah Oak Day’ every year in mid-October. As you can see from this second picture of the Travilah Oak its fall color can be incredible.

Elkins Oak

This is a large white oak growing in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and the family that bought the property where it is growing precisely because of this tree. Like the ‘Thurber’ Oak, its through the generosity of a local family that we have seedling from this impressive tree to give away.

Thurber Oak

This tree is located in Derwood, Maryland, and is also given to us through the generosity of a local family. We’d like to have more such donations. Though the this tree is not as old as some of the others that have supplied us with acorns, the tree (and its seedlings) look good and we are happy to pass them on.

Malcolm X Park White Oaks

Between 15th and 16th streets NW, and above Florida Avenue, Malcolm X Park is planted almost exclusively in native Oaks. Needless to say, is a beautiful park and exemplifies the grandeur our native oaks can achieve when given enough room to spread out a bit.

Chapel Oak

The chapel oak is an icon on the UMD campus and, in many ways the inspiration for the great oaks itself. Doug Gill, professor of ecology, remarks in his classes about the beauty of the tree and the irony that it is difficult for the tree to reproducein its intensively managedlandscape. The tree is an inspiration for the Great Oaks in a different way. Note that it is in decline, and in the foreground a swamp white oak has been planted to replace it. Great Trees last only so long. The next generation of Great Trees needs to be planted – now.

The Chapel Oak. Beautiful, but in decline. Note that a new tree, poised to take its place, has already been planted.







Swamp White Oak

This tree is now commonly planted in DC as a street tree. In suburban Maryland it seems to be very rare. There is one swamp white oak in College Park, MD – as far as we can tell – and it is in decline. Malcolm X Park in DC contain several, all of them beautiful.

Post Oak

Post oaks are hardy, rustic, trees, well adapted to growing in poor soils. The trees themselves, however are not poor, and are extremely picturesque. Post oaks are not easily available retail, and as a result are being lost from the landscape.

The Brookland Elementary Oak

This tree is located at the turkey thicket parking lot, right next to brookland elementary on michigan avenue, ne dc.

The snouffer school post oaks

This is a collection of post oaks along snouffer school road in gaithersburg. These trees are not very picturesque because they are getting overwhelmed by wild grape. Their seedlings appear vigorous, however!

Chestnut Oak

This species can out-compete most others in dry rocky soils. It can be found in great numbers in Catoctin Mountain Park and many forest parks in MD. In upland sites in DC, in Rock Creek Park, and even in some home’s front yards these trees can be found. Chestnut Oak can grow very large and has unique bark, setting itself apart from other members of the white oak family. Its hard to get a good shot of a chestnut oak because they are usually found stuffed among other trees in the forest. Somebody pant one in the open!

Duke Ellington Oak

As you walk on the north east side of the duke ellington bridge, which connects woodley park to adams morgan, this chestnut oak reaches its canopy over the bridge. It appears to be quite robust with a yearly crop of acorns.

National Cathedral Chestnut Oak

Not growing on the grounds of the cathedral, but rather growing on a home’s property facing the north side of the apse of the cathedral.

Catonsville Chestnut Oaks

There are several chestnut oaks growing in Catonsville, a suburban Baltimore community where many old, native oaks exist, but almost no young ones. The gift that Catonsville has is great but temporary, unless these trees are mindfully propagated.

Burr Oak

The burr oak is a fast-growing tree, and becomes the dominant oak in the midwest, as the forest eases its way into the prarie. There are a few burr oaks in the area, to our knowledge all in DC. Are they of local origin?

Malcolm X Park Burr Oaks

All of the burr oaks given away in 2010 are from Malcolm X Park in Washington, DC.

Black Oak

There are many black oaks in suburban MD, but they tend to be old. The black oak is a rustic tree that is not available retail. If you have one in your yard, nurture a volunteer. How else will black oak continue to make its contributions to the food web?

Trinity Black Oak

This black oak is growing across from the south east corner of Trinity College near a community tennis court. Its beautiful, but alone. Help it reproduce.

Bunker Hill Black Oak

This tree is growing on Michigan avenue on a steep hillside in front of Bunker Hill elementary school.

Catonsville Black Oaks

These trees are taken from the community of Catonsville, MD, which similar to many already described plants, has many such trees, all of them older.

Garrett Park Black Oak

Garret Park has many black oaks, some of monumental size. However, similar to Catonsville, and many other communities, with very few young ones planted or nurtured. One volunteer has been protected on a path leading from the railroad tracks in Schuylkill Park, but this appears to be the only one. If more is not done this communities’ population of black oak will be reduced to a single individual.

Northern Red Oak

This is a relatively frequently planted oak species that seems to be faring better than most in forests. It grows faster than most oak species, but tends to be shorter lived.

Shingle Oak

This species appears to be a hard one to find in the area around suburban MD. Its somewhat unique in that its leaves have no lobes. It gets its name in that the wood splits very straight – ideal for making roof shingles.

Kensington Shingle Oak

There is a lone shingle oak at the Kensington, MD public library. It is growing right along Knowles Avenue.

Brookside Gardens Shingle Oaks

There is a small population in Brookside Gardens in Wheaton. One of them has hybridized with a nearby northern red oak. Such hybridization is fairly common among oaks.

Blackjack Oak

The blackjack oak is sometimes referred to as a ‘scrub oak’. Its often found as a low, gnarly tree, but this is because it is more adept than most at growing in poor soils, where it can outcompete them. When grown in more ideal soil, it has just as much dignity as any other oak species, growing tall with a powerful trunk. South of the apse of the National Cathedral, a blackjack oak is growing near the Cathedral Garden Shop. Its beautiful. Blackjack oaks are not available retail, which is a real shame. Notice their leaf shape. It seems to be the ideal shape for efficient collection of sunshine.

Pin Oak

The pin oak is a commonly planted oak tree and is easily available retail.

Scarlet Oak

The scarlet oak is the official tree of Washington, DC. It can develop striking orange or scarlet fall color, though this is by no means guaranteed. The leaf shape is strikingly beautiful, a combination of elegent curves and points. Beautiful enough without fall color.

Southern Red Oak

Abundant in some communities and entirely absent from others. The southern red has a striking, dagger-shaped leaf. University Park, MD has many of this species, though the local grand champion in size would appear to be across rte. 1, in College Park, along Amherst Road. The size of this tree is staggering, though we are still waiting for acorns from it.


Hickories are not easily available retail, and as a result are being lost from the landscape. This is a shame. Raw hickory nuts are delicious, the trees appear to take on a more columnar shape (in contrast to oaks), and (also unlike oaks) hickories guarantee spectacular fall color. Hickories turn a brilliant gold color, often a little earlier than other trees. A hickory tree in your landscape will be a standout. 

Mockernut Hickory

The mockernut hickory has relatively large leaves with many leaflets.

Pignut Hickory

The pignut hickory has relatively small leaves with fewer leaflets.

Black Tupelo

The black tupelo, according to the work of Abrams (see elsewhere in this website), is one of those trees that may replace the oaks in many landscapes, and it has much to recommend it. This native produces brilliant fall color and beautiful drupes (fruit) too small for people, but just right for birds. Black tupelos are widespread. 

Paw Paw

The paw paw is the northernmost member of a mostly tropical family of trees. The paw paw produces the largest fruit of any of our native trees, a fruit that is somewhat reminiscent of banana, and custardy. Paw paw is the only food source for the larvae of the zebra swallowtail butterfly, the most striking of all the native swallowtails. In early middle spring the paw paw subtly flowers, with maroon to brown blooms that hang upside down on the limbs, just as the leaves – unmistakably tropical leaves – are unfurling. An understory tree, the paw paw can be grown in full sun, but for the first two years must be well shaded. Sun exposed plants are likely to produce abundant fruit. Paw paw appears to need to have two genetically distinct plants nearby for reproduction to occur.

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