My wife had a poinsettia on our balcony that died in a surprise frost while we were away. The empty pot stayed on our balcony for a while, and new sprouts gave her hope that it had managed to survive in the roots.

But it soon developed leaves that were clearly not poinsettia. I took one look at them and thought they looked quite like traditional oak leaves, though I don’t see how that could have happened. Friends all concurred that they look like oak leaves.

At this point, they look a little more pointy than the traditional knobby look, but still, pretty oak-like:

Leaves that looks like oak

So, is this an oak tree? Any idea how it got there?

This is in Arlington, Virginia.

1 Answer 1


It looks like an oak to me as well. It's been a long time since I've done oak identification, so I'm not going to venture a guess as to species. I will tell you that I find oaks growing in our garden frequently, and we don't have any oaks within 100 feet. My guess would be a squirrel or bird stashed the acorn in your pot for later eating.

  • That would be a rather enterprising squirrel, but that does seem like a plausible explanation.
    – KRyan
    Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 23:40
  • 2
    I've seen them climb up 2.5 stores up the corner of a house just for the fun of it.
    – Ben
    Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 23:41
  • I've known of them as pests getting into a loft. They definitely put acorns (and walnuts) in pots. So do the jays we get here in the UK -- I don't know if yours do, or even if they eat acorns.
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 8:30
  • Definitely an oak tree, my best guess with the picture is a red oak/Quercus rubra. Unbeknownst to many, blue jays spread acorns far and wide so it is most likely a jay that planted that for you. =]
    – Tyler K.
    Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 18:29

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