Species Profile

Shumard Oak

Scientific Name: Quercus shumardii
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: Ontario
Last COSEWIC Assessment: April 1999
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 3, Special Concern - (SARA Schedule 1 provisions do not apply)

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Image of Shumard Oak

Shumard Oak Photo 1



The Shumard Oak is a tall tree which can grow to a height of 40 m. The bark of this tree is gray and deeply furrowed. The leaves have three to five lobes on each side and have toothed edges. The fruit is an acorn.


Distribution and Population

The Shumard Oak is a widespread species which is common in the south-central United States. In Canada, the species is known from about 30 sites in extreme southwestern Ontario, in the counties of Essex, Kent and Elgin. Some sites consist of a single tree or several trees. Scattered in Essex County are an estimated 500 Shumard Oaks, some of which may be hybrids. The species' range in Ontario is now larger than was thought in 1984, but its distribution is still very limited.



The Shumard Oak requires full sunlight for seedling establishment and is thus not found under closed canopies. Favoured sites include open woodlots with a past history of grazing by dairy cattle, and along fencerows and roadsides. In Canada, the species is restricted to the Niagara Section of the Deciduous Forest Region, where the soils are poorly drained clay and clay loam. These soils are rich in all nutrients except phosphorus.



The Shumard Oak produces a large number of seeds every two to three years, with smaller crops in the intervening years. The dissemination of the acorns is accomplished by small mammals, which bury the nuts in food caches. The acorns germinate easily in the spring. Seedlings may also sprout from the stumps of Shumard Oaks.



Loss of habitat is reducing the number of Shumard Oaks in Ontario. Fencerows are being removed from fields to accommodate larger agricultural equipment, brushland is being cultivated, and the use of selective herbicides along roadsides is suppressing broadleaf vegetation. In Memorial Park in the city of Windsor, routine grass mowing operations prohibit natural regeneration.



Federal Protection

Species that were designated at risk by COSEWIC prior to October 1999 must be reassessed against revised criteria before they can be considered for addition to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). To find out when re-assessment of this species is anticipated, please consult the COSEWIC web site.

The Shumard Oak is protected in three conservation areas in southern Ontario, where it is growing and reproducing well. However, most sites occur on private property or along road allowances.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.



PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

3 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Update Status Report on the Shumard Oak (Quercus shummardii) in Canada (1999)

    Shumard Oak is a large tree with massive limbs and an open, wide-spreading canopy. Older specimens have a heavily buttressed trunk that is covered with dark grey furrowed bark. The bark of younger limbs has smooth light grey bark. Branchlets are reddish or greyish brown with terminal buds that are oval, pointed and grey. The leaves are 5-7 lobed, with the lobes cut more than half way to the midrib. The upper leaf surface is lustrous and the lower has conspicuous tufts of hair in the axils of the veins. Leaves turn a deep wine-red in the fall. Acorns are about 2.5 cm long and enclosed by a shallow flat-topped grey cup.

COSEWIC Assessments

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Point Pelee National Park of Canada and Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada (2016)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Point Pelee National Park of Canada and the Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of the two sites: Point Pelee National Park of Canada (PPNP) and the Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada (NNHS). The NNHS is being used as a term to collectively refer to two locations in the Niagara region that consist of three National Historic Sites: Fort George National Historic Site, Battlefield of Fort George National Historic Site, and Butler’s Barracks National Historic Sites of Canada. The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species At Risk Act (SARA s.47) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur in these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at PPNP and at NNHS.