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

Scientific Name: 
Genus: Quercus
Species: Q. ellipsoidalis

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

Common characteristics:

The northern pin oak 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 are somewhat oblong or oval in shape. The leaves typically have seven lobes, each one bristle-pointed and separated by rounded openings that extend nearly to the midrib. The leaves are bright red and hairy in early spring, turning green later, and then a bright scarlet in the autumn. The fruit of northern pin oak is a bitter acorn that takes two years to mature. They are bright green in the summer turning reddish-brown in the fall.

Where it grows:

Northern pin oak prefers full sun and can tolerate drought. Do not tolerate road or salt spray. In natural environments, 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. 

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. These trees are susceptible to iron chlorosis and should be planted in sites with more acidic soils to avoid damage.


Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Missouri Botanical Garden

The Morton Arboretum

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