Red Oak, Quercus rubra
Fagaceae or Beech Family


Tall tree, to 80 feet. Young bark gray; mature bark dark, furrowed often with shiny strips. Leaves "feather-lobed" with multiple lobes on either side, and one at the end, toothless and hairless. Each lobe comes to a point and has a bristle at the tip. Leaves may be whitened beneath. Leaves red to brown and deciduous in autumn. Male and female flowers separate, in the spring. Male flowers are simple clumps of anthers in a long catkin (4th row). Female flowers are small, reddish, and urn-shaped, with the new leaves (bottom row). Fruits are acorns, with shallow, saucer-shaped caps; the caps have smooth edges. Typical of oaks, the winter buds (third row) are in crowded clusters at the tips of the twigs; they are not hairy.


An important native forest tree; the acorns providing food for a variety of wildlife. One of the most common trees in Wildwood, generally in drier parts of the forests.

The feather-lobed leaves are characteristic of oaks, though not all oaks have them. The bristle tips identifies the red oak group. Scarlet oak (Q. coccinea) is the only other red oak known for sure in Wildwood; its leaves have lobes that are much more deeply cut than in red oak. A fallen black oak (Q. velutina) has been identified at the edge of the Park, so there may be others. The leaves of these two oaks are very hard to tell apart, although black oak often has more lobes. Look to the buds and acorns; black oak has hairybuds and acorns with a fringe of scales along the edge of the cup.

More Information

Leaf underside
Young bark   Bark Buds
Male inflorescence Male flowers   Autumn leaves
  Female inflorescence Female flowers  


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