The Pin Oak is native to Ontario, Canada. The tree can mainly be found in the central and eastern parts of the United States. It spreads from Kansas east to Connecticut, and south to Georgia. It can also be found spreading from west to east (Oklahoma to Kansas).
The tree has been introduced to Australia where it has adapted well and spread across the continent. It gravitates towards the cooler souther States like New South Wales and Victoria. The tree has also adapted to life in South Africa and Argentina.
The Pin Oak grows on primarily poorly drained, level, alluvial flood plains and river bottom soils with a high clay content. Areas that flood intermittently but are not poorly drained are generally the preferred areas for the Pin Oak. However, these trees can be found on "pin oak flats" in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. These flats are poorly drained glacial til plains with clay filled soil.
Origin, history, and uses:
The Pin Oak was first scientifically classified around the 1770s. Historically, Native American tribes would take advantage of Pin Oak bark by boiling it and creating intestinal medicine. The hard wood of a Pin Oak tree could be used for wooden contruction. The heavy and strong wood could be used for wood, wood pulp and railroad ties. Today, Pin Oaks are generally used for landscaping. They can be seen on the sides of highways and roads.
The male gametophyte, or the catkin, reaches maturity at a different time of the year than the female ovaries. The pollen capsules released by the catkins travel through the air to reach the ovaries of neighboring Pin Oaks or of twigs on the same tree, as Pin Oaks are monoecious (aka hermaphroditic). Then, pollen tube formation begins and there is double fertilization. The Zygote does not reach maturity as an acorn until a few months later, when it falls off of the tree. It takes another twelve months before the fallen acorn has reached its full ripeness, making it vulnerable to rodents and small animals who want to snack on it. The Pin Oak follows a similar annual cycle to many other north american trees. It begins shedding its leaves in October in preparation for a long winter. This allows the tree to conserve resources and energy.
An interesting fact about Pin Oaks is that they are intolerant to shade. This means sometimes they are outcompeted by other trees like the elm or sweetgum.