Water oak is particularly suited for timber, fuel, wildlife habitat, and environmental forestry. It has been widely planted in southern communities as a shade tree. Its veneer has been successfully used as plywood for fruit and vegetable containers.Forestryimages.org provides several images of parts of water oak. The tree is a hardwood and the lineal taxonomy is Magnoliopsida &gt; Fagales &gt; Fagaceae &gt; Quercus nigra. Water oak is also commonly called possum oak or spotted oak.Water oak is found along the Coastal Plain from southern New Jersey and Delaware south to southern Florida; west to eastern Texas; and north in the Mississippi Valley to southeastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and southwestern Tennessee.Leaf: Alternate, simple, 2 to 4 inches long and extremely variable in shape (from spatulate to lanceolate), may be 0 to 5 lobed, margins may be entire or bristle-tipped, both surfaces are glabrous, but axillary tufts may be present below.<p>Twig: Slender, red-brown; buds short, sharp-pointed, angular, red-brown, multiple at the tip.</p>Water oak is easily damaged by fire. Low-severity surface fires top-kill water oak less than 3 to 4 inches in d.b.h. The bark of larger trees is thick enough to protect the cambium from low-severity fires and the buds are above the heat of the fire. in a Santee Experimental Forest study in South Carolina, periodic winter and summer low-severity fires and annual winter low-severity fires were effective at reducing the number of hardwood stems (including water oak) between 1 and 5 inches in d.b.h. Annual summer fires also reduced the number of stems in that size class, as well as nearly eliminating all stems less than 1 inch in d.b.h. Root systems were weakened and eventually killed by burning during the growing season .