Korean Oak

Image of Q. dentata in the winter, leaves attached.
Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
Observational details: The Korean oak was found amidst a construction site with a torn branch. It stood surveying the area as the last tree standing. Biological background: Quercus dentata is also known as the Korean oak, daimyo oak, or the Japanese emperor oak. The Korean oak is a deciduous tree, meaning it loses its leaves once a year. It is also an angiosperm, or a flowering plant, and it is a eudicot. This can be observed macroscopically from the venation of the leaves, and would also be apparent from the anatomy of the seed and the organization of vascular tissue within the tree. This specimen is 7.5 meters, or approximately 24 feet tall, and the species can grow to up to 20-25 meters. The Korean oak also has remarkably large leaves for its size, growing up to 40cm long and 30cm wide. Typically, the Korean oak flowers in May, with mature acorns appearing between September and October. Geographic distribution: Quercus dentata is originally native to East Asia, specifically Japan, China, and the Korean peninsula. It was introduced to the West in the nineteenth century. In the year 1830 it was transported to the British Isles, where it was occasionally cultivated in botanical gardens much like Yale's own Marsh Botanical Gardens. The acorns of the daimyo oak have been used in Korean cuisine since the time of the Three Kingdoms (57 B.C.E. to 668 C.E.).
Cole Tilden, David Stevens
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Date of tree entry: 
7.50 m
Diameter at breast height: 
0.13 m

The bark displays a vertical cut pattern typical of oaks.
Twigs & branches
Here can be seen some buds on the smaller branches. The twigs and smaller branches of the Quercus dentata are smooth and almost velvety to the touch. They become rougher and develop striations with time.
The Korean oak is known for its very large leaves. The leaves are the specialized location in flowering plants where photosynthesis occurs. This species often retains its brown leaves through the winter season, as can be seen here!
Reproductive Structures
Like all trees in the Oak family, Q. dentata produces hard-shelled acorns. The flowers are separate for male and female, and each tree has both male and female flowers. This makes the Korean oak a monoecious species, meaning flowers are sex-differentiated. Seen here are the buds beginning to form in early spring and fully matured acorns from the late summer.
  • Q. dentata during the winter
  • A different Q. dentata specimen during autumn
Natural range of distribution: 
The Korean oak, as previously mentioned, is native to Korea, Japan, and China. It prefers to live on sunny slopes and in thickets, both on lowlands and in mountains throughout these countries. It is hardy up to USDA Zone 5. (See the attached zonal map of the United States for context. In the U.S., a climate in Zone 5 can be found in places like Massachusetts or northern Illinois, e.g. This means the Korean oak can succeed in this habitat or slightly warmer ones.)
Origin, history, and uses: 

According to the New York Botanical Garden, “In Japan [daimyo oaks] are popular as bonsai.” We also learn from the NYBG that Quercus dentata is one of those species of trees that can only be found in its native habitat and in botanical gardens around the world. (As previously mentioned, the native habitat covers parts of China, Japan, and Korea.)

Daimyo oaks typically do not grow as tall as other species of Quercus native to North America, but “its broad crown of thick leaves provide a dense, welcome shade in summer.” In the United Kingdom, one notable example is a 14m-tall specimen in Osterley Park, London. The New York Botanical Garden has two individuals, the older being over 50 feet tall.

Media and Arts