Black oaks are medium to large trees, growing to around 80 feet. Their trunks are usually no more than two and a half feet wide.
Black oak leaves are four to ten inches long. Leaves are shiny green above, and pale green below. Sometimes they have brown hairs underneath. Black oak leaves turn red in the fall.
The bark of black oak is smooth and gray on young trees, but as it gets older the bark turns black and thick with deep furrows (wrinkles). The inner bark of this tree is orange-yellow. Black oak fruit is an acorns covered half-way by a cap. Black oak acorns take about two years to mature and grow.
Cavities in black oaks are home to many animals, especially woodpeckers. Acorns are eaten by squirrels, mice, voles, white-tailed deer, and insects. Many birds, such as bluejays and turkeys, also eat them.