37. SCARLET OAK
Quercus coccinea Muenchhausen
|Scarlet oak, so called from the brilliant coloring of its autumn foliage, is most commonly found on poor soils. The wood is hard, heavy, strong, and coarse in texture. It is of inferior commercial value except for props, ties, and fuel. Because of the characteristic habit and brilliant coloring of the leaves in autumn is often used for ornamental purposes.|
|Bark - on young
trunks, smooth, light brown in color; with age dividing into irregular ridges with shallow
furrows between; in general, ridges not so regularly flat-topped as in northern red oak or
so roughly broken up as in black oak; inner bark reddish in color.
Twigs - medium stout to slender, light red in color.
Winter buds - broadly oval, blunt at the top, clustered at end of twig, dark reddish brown in color, somewhat woolly.
Leaves - simple, alternate, 3 to 6 inches long and 3 to 5 inches wide, with 5 to 9 lobes; lobes toothed, separated by wide, rounding clefts, extending well over halfway to the midrib; at maturity leaves thin, firm, shiny, dark green in color above, paler below.
Fruit - an acorn, borne singly or in pairs with or without stalks, maturing in autumn of second year. Nut - oval, reddish brown in color, 1/2 to 1 inch long, 1/2 to 1/3 enclosed in reddish brown cup. Meat - pale yellow, bitter.
Distinguishing features - clefts between lobes of leaves extending nearly to the midrib; lower branches persistent for many years, down curving.