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Red Oak

TREES

GENUS/SPECIES


Quercus rubra

FAMILY


Fagaceae

SYNONYMS


Common: Northern Red Oak

DISTRIBUTION


Eastern US

  • SE Oklahoma northward to N Minnesota
  • N Minnesota eastward to N Maine
  • N Maine southwestward to NE North Carolina and S Alabama
  • S Alabama northwestward to SE Oklahoma

Comments

Red oak, also known as northern red oak, is an eastern species typically found in deep, fine soils found in valleys and protected slopes. Stands may develop composed mostly of this species. The leaves have pointed lobes and are typically smooth underneath. The acorns, which mature in two seasons, are medium-sized (about 3/4 inch or so long) with a cap covering just the base of the nut. As is true of all the oaks, the flowers bloom in the spring, with the male flowers forming on catkins and releasing abundant wind-borne pollen and the rather inconspicuous female flowers forming at the bases of the leaves. The bark on mature trees is broken into small dark scales, while younger trees and branches have smooth, gray bark. On some trees “transitional” areas where the smooth bark is cracking to form the mature bark may appear somewhat like vertical stripes.