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Oak Collection

Bernheim’s oaks are some of our most majestic and venerable trees.  They are planted throughout the Arboretum with the oldest and largest planting being along Bernheim’s main road.

The first trees were planted in 1957 and 1958.  Among the first trees planted at Bernheim were sawthooth oaks along with pin & willow oaks. Some of our specimens come from humble beginnings while other have a storied past.

The white oak Quercus alba adjacent to the meadow, across the street from the Education Center is known as the Lincoln Oak.  The tree was propagated by Theodore Klein and given to the Arboretum. It is a seedling from a White Oak growing in Albion, Illinois, under which Abraham Lincoln spoke in the campaign for William Henry Harrison. Illinois State Historical Society states “Abraham Lincoln spoke in the Oak grove of General William Pickering in the presidential campaign of 1840.”

In the early 1960’s the two pin oak Quercus palustris on either end of the Garden Pavilion parking lot were transplanted from the Oak Section as 3½ to 4 inch diameter trees.

Bernheim has twenty seven different species of oak with eighteen different oak hybrids and 22 cultivars of various oak species.  Bernheim has one hundred and twenty specimens of oak. Bernheim’s oak species are listed below:

  • Quercus acutissima       sawtooth oak
  • Quercus alba                     white oak
  • Quercus aliena                 Oriental oak
  • Quercus bicolor                swamp white oak
  • Quercus buckleyi              Texas red oak
  • Quercus castaneifolia     chestnut-leaved oak
  • Quercus cerris                     European turkey oak
  • Quercus dalechampii       Sessile oak
  • Quercus dentata             Daimyo oak
  • Quercus frainetto           Italian oak
  • Quercus fusiformis         Texas live oak
  • Quercus georgiana         Georgia oak
  • Quercus imbricaria         shingle oak
  • Quercus liaotungensis    Liaotung oak
  • Quercus lyrata                   overcup oak
  • Quercus macrocarpa      burr oak
  • Quercus marilandica        blackjack oak
  • Quercus muehlenbergii   chinkapin oak
  • Quercus nigra                       water oak
  • Quercus palustris                pin oak
  • Quercus phellos            willow oak
  • Quercus prinus              chestnut oak
  • Quercus rubra                northern red oak
  • Quercus shumardii       Shumard oak
  • Quercus texana             Nuttall’s oak
  • Quercus variabilis         Chinese cork oak
  • Quercus velutina            black oak