All of the oaks in the white oak family have leaves with rounded lobes, in contrast to the red oaks whose leaves have points. The bark on mature white oaks is ashy gray.
The acorns germinate soon after dropping from the tree in the fall. The acorns contain less of the bitter tannic acid than do red oak fruits. Native Americans and early settlers boiled them to remove the remaining tannins before eating the nuts. Native Americans also pounded the fruit into flour for making bread. White oak is one of the finest woods for furniture and hardwood flooring.