Red Oak

Quercus rubra

Red Oak Quercus rubra autumn leaf

A broadly domed deciduous tree which can grow up to 35m (115ft) tall. It has straight branches radiating from a short trunk. The bark is smooth in younger trees and ridged when mature, and is silver-grey or brownish-grey in colour. The green deeply lobed leaves are large, ranging from 10-25 cm long, the stalks are around 2 cm long. The leaves turn a vibrant red in the autumn, although it can be of variable shading. Both sexes are on the same tree, the male catkins being yellow pendulous filaments, and the female flowers are inconspicuous ovals. The acorns are set in shallow cups.

Red Oak Quercus rubra autumn leaf fall

Planted as an ornamental in parks and gardens, and other urban settings for its autumn colours. Native to North America, introduced to Britain in 1724. Abundant in warmer climes, and naturalised occasionally.

Red Oak Quercus rubra leaves


Red Oak (Quercus rubra), Warley Woods, Staffordshire, England, November 2012 and June 2013.

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5 thoughts on “Red Oak

  1. I once ordered some firewood a little late in the year and all that was left was some not fully seasoned red oak. Fresh cut red oak has a very distinctive, not too pleasant smell. Some compare the smell to manure and I don’t disagree. Bottom line, it was a month to 45 days before I could keep any in the log basket in the house. In addition to “order early” I also learned that at a couple of houses where I thought they were putting manure in their flower beds in front of the house (which didn’t makes sense), they were just using “fresh cut” red oak mulch.

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