Bernheim at 90: Celebrating the Oak Collection

By Hannah Hunt

The earliest specimens in the Oak collection were planted in the late 1950s—the largest and oldest can be found around the Arboretum Loop. Today, those original plantings of pin, willow, and sawtooth oaks are the backbone of our landscape. We have continued to expand our collection since then, and various oak species can be found around the arboretum.

Of all our specimens, the white oak known as the ‘Lincoln oak’ has the most storied past. It was propagated and gifted to Bernheim Arboretum by Theodore Klein, beloved Kentucky horticulturist and original purchaser of Yew Dell Farm, from a seed of the White Oak growing in Albion, Illinois, under which Abraham Lincoln spoke in the 1840 campaign for William Henry Harrison. This specimen can be located adjacent to the prairie, across the street from the Education Center.

One of the rarer specimens in our collection is the Quercus liaotung, or Liaotung oak. Native to China, Korea, and Japan, and a close relative of the Mongolian Oak, this tree can be found in elevations up to 7500 feet. This slow-growing specimen is hardy up to zone 5 and would make a sturdy shade tree for collectors of rarities.

Come visit these and other Oak specimens as we celebrate our 90th anniversary here at Bernheim!

  • 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)

In 2019, Bernheim celebrates 90 years of connecting people with nature. At over 25 square miles, Bernheim is the largest privately held forest dedicated to conservation and education in the region. Our arboretum is home to plant collections of over 8,000 varieties, public art, and educational programming for thousands of students.  Our pristine forest hosts hikers and outdoor adventures alongside research and conservation projects which will serve to protect the environment for future generations.

As a 100% member and donor supported organization, we could not fulfill this important mission without you. We hope you’ll continue to support our efforts throughout the next 90 years.  Join or donate by clicking here.

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