Difference Between Oak and Maple (With Table)

Oaks and maples both belong to the deciduous angiosperm family. Thus both are generally classified as hardwood. Oak and maple wood have certain similarities like durability and weight but still differ a lot in coloring and graining patterns. So, the differences between oaks and maples are pretty notable, and one can’t mistake to identify them one from the other.

Oak vs Maple

The difference between oak and maple is that oaks belong to the Quercus family while maples belong to the Acer family. Many oaks share small spikes and drooping catkins. On the other hand, maple possesses flowers that range from red to orange. Oaks give muted and rich tones of red, gold, and brown shade, while maple range shades from fiery red to bright yellow.

Oaks are attractive trees, hard in nature, and are thus, used for the same. Their botanical name means “Beautiful tree.” They are utilized for making furniture, in timber, to provide shade, and for medicinal purposes. The formation of galls is found on a few oaks during autumn and summer and holds eggs of insects in it.

Maple has distinctive leaves and fall color. There are a number of maples of different heights- from very small to a height of 60ft or more. They are susceptible to a number of pests and insects. Symptoms of the trees decline usually happen in urban locations because of pollution, soil salts, etc.

Comparison Table Between Oak and Maple

Parameters of ComparisonOakMaple
 Genus NameQuercus Acer
Leaf ShapeOvate to oblong with a narrow baseIrregularly ovate, sinuate, and pointed
Fruit obtainedThey possess acornsThey possess samaras
Wood textureGrainySmooth
Wood colorCream or whiteWhite-yellow or reddish-brown

What is Oak?

Oak is a shrub or tree that belongs to the beech family (Fagaceae). Other than the name oaks, they can also be known by the names like silky oaks, stone oaks, and she-oaks, depending on the species the genus of Quercus possesses.

Oaks are basically indigenous to the Northern Hemisphere. They might also be spotted in the topical and cool temperate latitudes of North Africa, Asia, and America. There could be around 500 extant oak species available all around the world.

They could be classified into three groups- white, red, and black oaks. White oaks possess non-bristle, tipped, and smooth leaves. They occasionally also have glandular margins. The acorn evolves in a single season, germinates in a few days after the falls, and owns sweet-tasting seeds.

Black or red oaks are pretty bristled and owns acorn hair-lined shells. The fruits are quite bitter in taste and develop wholly by the second growing season’s end.

Oaks could be propagated effortlessly from acorns as well as grow great in moderately rich, moist soil or sandy, dry soil. Most oaks develop again from sprouts’ stump. They are long-lived and hardy but can’t tolerate shade and might get spoilt by oak wilt fungus and leaf-eating organisms.

What is Maple?

The shrubs and trees kept under the genus Acer are called maples. There are around 132 species of maple all around the world. They are basically native to Asia, but one can spot them in North America, Europe, and northern Africa.

Maples are considered amongst the most prominent group of ornamental trees that you can plant in parks, lawns, and along the streets. Several species can also be utilized to get maple syrup and grab hardwood to make furniture.

The smaller maple involves the species named- field or hedge maple, ginnala maple, etc. They are very useful in hedges or screens and possess outstanding foliage during falls. The vine maples are the shrubby, wide-spreading maples that have beautiful purple and white flowers.

The medium-sized maples are usually around 30 feet tall. Such maples include the Miyabe maple, big-toothed maple, and Coliseum maple. They appear to be yellowish-golden in look, have attractive peeling bark and tripartite leaves.

Large maples generally exceed the size of 30 meters and are planted actually for shade purposes. These include red, silver, and sugar maples. They own an orange-bright foliage fall and provides wood that is pretty darker than the other maple woods.

Main Differences Between Oak and Maple

  1. Oak is very much resistant to insect and fungal attacks because of high content of tannin. On the other hand, maple gets affected by fungal diseases very easily.
  2. Most oak trees flower in the spring season, while the maple has a flowering season in early spring or late winters.
  3. The oak wood possesses pores on its bark that are easily spotted with naked eyes. Whereas maple wood doesn’t have such visible pores, thus have a smooth texture.
  4. All oak species grains show a well-defined and distinctive pattern, while maple grains have a light pattern that isn’t easily visible to the eyes.
  5. Oaks, on a general basis, are used as a shade tree or focal specimen, etc. On the other hand, maples are used as ornamental and patio trees, and syrup making, etc.

Conclusion

Oak as well as maple both belong to the hardwood family and share many similarities due to this reason. But more than similarities, they own many notable differences. The leaf pattern of oak shows a spiral arrangement with smooth, serrated, and margined leaves. Whereas a maple leaf is pretty much pointed, and this creates a clear difference between them.

If we look at the hardness factor, oaks are a little less hard than maple and are much more durable than maple.

With that, oak trees are found in abundance and are much more diverse than maple trees. Despite this fact, they both share almost similar locations with respect to growth, i.e., mountains to coastal areas.

When the wood has pores that are visible to naked eyes, you can recognize that the wood is oakwood. While, when the wood is cut freshly and has a creamy and light shade that darkens to yellowish or brownish-red shade when exposed to sunlight, you can recognize that the wood is maple.

Both are beautiful trees to adore. Just making the right choice is what is one has done.

References

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ppl.12331
  2. http://dspace.lzuu.lt/bitstream/1/2901/3/rural_development_2009_vol_2.pdf#page=196
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