Common Name: northern pin oak, jack oak, hill's oak

Scientific Name: 
Genus: Quercus
Species: ellipsoidalis

Hardiness Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 50 to 70 ft
Width: 40 to 60 ft

Common characteristics:

The northern pin oak can reach heights of 40' to 65' with a diameter of 24" around. Its trunk tapers rapidly with branches drooping at their ends which forming a narrow, open crown. The bark is rather smooth and divided by shallow fissures into irregular ridges and plates. Grayish to dark brown in color with an inner reddish colored bark.

Leaves are simple and grow alternately on the stem, they have a length of 3" to 6". They are somewhat oblong or oval in shape and usually have seven lobes, each one bristle-pointed and separated by rounded openings that extend nearly to the midrib, giving the leaf a very deeply cut or lacy appearance. Leave will be a bright red and hairy in early spring, turning green later, and then a bright scarlet in the autumn. A bitter acorn that takes two years to mature, reddish-brown that is half enclosed in its cup.

Where it grows:

These trees are susceptible to iron chlorosis and should be planted in sites with more acidic soils to avoid damage. It prefers full sun and can tolerate drought. In the wild, it can be found in savannas and in forested mesic uplands.

How it’s used:

Best used as a shade tree in parks and lawns. Intolerant to salt spray so is not suited near roads. 

Ecosystem services:

The northern pin oak and its acorns make a good food source for birds, small mammals, and game mammals.  

Where it is native to:

Native to the northeastern United States and better suited for cooler climates. 

Known Varieties and Their Traits:

Majestic Skies™ (Quercus ellipsoidalis 'Bailskies'):  New foliage of this cultivar emerges red, then matures to dark green, and finally changes to red in fall.


Oak wilt is a potential disease problem especially in areas where oak wilt is prevalent. Insect pests include scale and two-lined chestnut borer, and galls caused by mites or insects are common, but not harmful.


Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. (Quercus ellipsoidalis) Found online:

Missouri Botanical Garden. (Plant Finder) Found Online:

The Morton Arboretum. (Trees & Plants) Found Online:

northern pin oak form
northern pin oak bark
northern pin oak bark
northern pin oak foliage
northern pin oak bud
northern pin oak fruit
northern pin oak fruit