Quercus acutissima
Midwest Noxious Weed: Do Not Plant
Common Name: sawtooth oak 
Type: Tree
Family: Fagaceae
Native Range: China, Korea, Japan, Himalayas
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 40.00 to 60.00 feet
Spread: 40.00 to 60.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Yellowish-green
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Shade Tree
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought
This plant is listed as a noxious weed in one or more Midwestern states outside Missouri and should not be moved or grown under conditions that would involve danger of dissemination.


Best grown in rich, humusy, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Adapts to a wide range of soils. Tolerant of heat and humidity. First respectable crops of acorns may occur as early as 10 years. May not be reliably winter hardy throughout the St. Louis area (particularly young trees).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Quercus acutissima, commonly called sawtooth oak, is a medium sized deciduous oak that is included in a section called the "Cerris" group, which has traits that are somewhat intermediate between the red and white oak sections. It typically grows 40-60’ tall with a broad-spreading, rounded crown. Gray to black bark develops corky ridging with age. It is native to China, Korea and Japan. Insignificant monoecious yellowish-green flowers in separate male and female catkins appear in spring as the leaves emerge. Fruits are oval acorns (to 1” long), with spiny, scaly cups that extend to approximately 2/3 the acorn length. Acorn crops can be quite abundant and are an important source of food for wildlife. Oblong to lance-shaped, chestnut-like, glossy dark green leaves (to 7” long) have bristle-tipped marginal teeth at the terminal point of each parallel vein. Fall color is variable, ranging from an attractive golden brown to undistinguished pale brown.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for oak trees.

Specific epithet means exceedingly acute or sharp in reference to the sawtooth leaf margins.


Chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves) is common in neutral to alkaline soils, and can severely damage the tree. Otherwise, sawtooth oak is considered to be a low-maintence tree with good pest resistance. Oaks in general are susceptible to a large number of diseases, including oak wilt, chestnut blight, shoestring root rot, anthracnose, oak leaf blister, cankers, leaf spots and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests include scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miner, galls, oak lace bugs, borers, caterpillars and nut weevils.


A medium shade tree for large lawns or parks.