Quercus rubra Linnaeus

Northern red oak is the fastest growing and largest of all the oaks native to New York State. It shows adaptability to a wide variety of soil conditions and ranges farther north than any other oak common to the state. The wood is heavy, hard, strong, light reddish brown in color, and is used for furniture, interior finish, ties, piling, ships, and general construction, though less durable than white oak.

Bark - on young trees smooth, gray green in color; with age tardily breaking into rather regular, firm, elongated, flat-topped ridges with shallow furrows between. The smooth ridge tops are markedly lighter in color than are the furrows. On very large trees, this characteristic is lost at the base but is evident higher up the trunk. Inner bark is red in color.

Twigs - stout or slender, reddish to greenish brown in color.

Winter buds - clustered at ends of twigs, oval, sharp-pointed, 1/4 inch long, generally smooth (particularly on the lower half).

Leaves - alternate; simple, 5 to 9 inches long, 4 to 6 inches wide, with 7 to 9 lobes; lobes sparsely toothed, bristle-tipped; wide rounding clefts extending halfway to midrib. At maturity thin, dark, shiny green in color above, paler and smooth below.

Fruit - an acorn, borne solitary or in pairs, either with or without stalk, maturing in the autumn of the second year; one of our largest acorns. Nut - chestnut brown in color, 3/4 inch long, only 1/5 enclosed in a wide, shallow cup. Meat - pale yellow in color, bitter.

Distinguishing features - reddish inner bark; leaf balanced (no heavier at outer than inner end); large fat acorn with flat cup. In thick woods, lower branches usually are self-pruned to more than half the height of tree.

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