Oak named Iowa's official tree 50 years ago - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oak named Iowa's official tree 50 years ago

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Bur Oak Bur Oak

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- The oak tree has been Iowa's official tree for a half-century.  The 59th Iowa General Assembly chose the tree March 13, 1961 because of the 13 species that are native to the state. 

Although only a small percentage of the oak forests remain, the oaks are still one of Iowa's leading commercial timber crops.  Oaks are used in construction lumber, railroad ties, fuel, fence posts, mine props, flooring, furniture, ships and boats, tool handles, railroad cars, interior trim, barrels and kegs.

The legislation naming the Iowa state tree did not specify a particular variety of oak tree. Because a certain species of oak was not named, any species can be considered the Iowa state tree. Perhaps because it is so widely distributed throughout the state, the bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is the species often identified as the state tree. According to Chris Feeley at The Department of Natural Resources Ecology and Management, the bur oak is the only native oak that is found in all Iowa counties. In the late 1800s, the bur oak was selected as the most typical tree of Iowa for planting in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

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