Quercus rubra

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Quercus rubra
Old northern red oak specimen
Conservation status

Secure (NatureServe)[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
(unranked):Angiosperms
(unranked):Eudicots
(unranked):Rosids
Order:Fagales
Family:Fagaceae
Genus:Quercus
Section:Lobatae
Species:Q. rubra
Binomial name
Quercus rubra
L.
Synonyms

Quercus borealis

 
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Quercus rubra
Old northern red oak specimen
Conservation status

Secure (NatureServe)[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
(unranked):Angiosperms
(unranked):Eudicots
(unranked):Rosids
Order:Fagales
Family:Fagaceae
Genus:Quercus
Section:Lobatae
Species:Q. rubra
Binomial name
Quercus rubra
L.
Synonyms

Quercus borealis

Quercus rubra, commonly called northern red oak or champion oak, (syn. Quercus borealis), is an oak in the red oak group (Quercus section Lobatae). It is a native of North America, in the northeastern United States and southeast Canada. It grows from the north end of the Great Lakes, east to Nova Scotia, south as far as Georgia and states with good soil that is slightly acidic. Often simply called "red oak", northern red oak is formally so named to distinguish it from southern red oak (Q. falcata), also known as the Spanish oak. It is also the state tree of New Jersey and the provincial tree of Prince Edward Island.

Description[edit]

Immature Red Oak (Quercus rubra) foliage in Ramapo Mountain State Forest, New Jersey

In many forests, this deciduous tree grows straight and tall, to 28 m (90 ft), exceptionally to 43 m (140 ft) tall, with a trunk of up to 50–100 cm (20–40 in) diameter. Open-grown trees do not get as tall, but can develop a stouter trunk, up to 2 m (6 ft) in diameter. It has stout branches growing at right angles to the stem, forming a narrow round-topped head. It grows rapidly and is tolerant of many soils and varied situations, although it prefers the glacial drift and well-drained borders of streams.[2] It is frequently a part of the canopy in an oak-heath forest, but generally not as important as some other oaks.[3][4]

Detail of mature bark
Autumn red oak leaf

Under optimal conditions, northern red oak is fast growing and a 10-year-old tree can be 5–6 m (15–20 ft) tall.[5] Trees may live up to 500 years according to the USDA,[6] and a living example of 326 years was noted in 2001 by Orwig et al.[7]

Northern red oak is easy to recognize by its bark, which feature bark ridges that appear to have shiny stripes down the center. A few other oaks have bark with this kind of appearance in the upper tree, but the northern red oak is the only tree with the striping all the way down the trunk.

Red oak acorns, unlike the white oak group, display epigeal dormancy and will not germinate without a minimum of three months' exposure to sub-40°F (4°C) temperatures. They also take two years of growing on the tree before development is completed.

Uses[edit]

The northern red oak is one of the most important oaks for timber production in North America. Quality red oak is of high value as lumber and veneer, while defective logs are used as firewood. Other related oaks are also cut and marketed as red oak, although their wood is not always of as high a quality. These include eastern black oak, scarlet oak, pin oak, Shumard oak, southern red oak and other species in the red oak group. Construction uses include flooring, veneer, interior trim, and furniture. It is also used for lumber, railroad ties, and fence posts.

Red oak wood grain is so open that smoke can be blown through it from end-grain to end-grain on a flat-sawn board. For this reason, it is subject to moisture infiltration and is unsuitable for outdoor uses such as boatbuilding or exterior trim.

Ornamental use[edit]

Q. rubra is grown in parks and large gardens as a specimen tree.[8]

Famous specimens[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ NatureServe (2006), "Quercus rubra", NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life, Version 6.1., Arlington, retrieved 2007-06-13 
  2. ^ a b Keeler, Harriet L. (1900). Our Native Trees and How to Identify Them. New Roak: Charles Scriber's Sons. pp. 349–354. 
  3. ^ The Natural Communities of Virginia Classification of Ecological Community Groups (Version 2.3), Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, 2010
  4. ^ Schafale, M. P. and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina: third approximation. North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation.
  5. ^ http://www.arborday.org/trees/treeGuide/TreeDetail.cfm?id=20
  6. ^ http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_quru.pdf
  7. ^ Eastern US oldlist
  8. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Quercus rubra". Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Rucker, Colby B. (February 2004), Great Eastern Trees, Past and Present, retrieved 2007-05-05 

External links[edit]