Quercus rubra
Common name: 
Red Oak
KWER-kus RU-bra
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf deciduous tree, 60-75 ft (15-23 m), rounded, ascending, usually massive branches, tends to branch close to the ground.  Leaves alternate, simple, base wedge shaped or sometimes rounded, 7-11 lobes, with several bristle-tipped teeth on the upper lobes, upper surface dull, yellowish-green, lower suface paler with tufts of hairs in the vein axils; new leaves reddish in spring, fall color from yellow-brown (often) to russet-red and bright red (rare).  Male (pollen) flowers are in catkins that develop from leaf axils of the previous year and appear in the spring with or before the leaves.   Female (seed) flowers develop in spikes in the axils of the current year's leaves.  Acorn 2-2.5 cm long, enclosed at the base in a flat, thick, scaley, saucer-like cup.  One author remarked that red oak "has no cup, it has a saucer"; the acorn matures in 2 years.
  • Sun.  Transplants readily because of negligible taproot.  Best in sandy loam soils which are well drained and on the acid side.  Withstands polluted air.  Fairly fast growing, 60 cm per year (Dirr, p. 703).
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4      Native from Nova Scotia to Pennsylvania, west to Minnesota and Iowa.  The State Tree of New Jersey.
  • rubra: Latin, red
  • Corvallis: NE area of Cental Park, near Monroe Ave. and 6th St.
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: there was a large, fine specimen on the east side of the MU Quad, but it fell over in August, 2012.  Two on the west side of the Quad.
Click image to enlarge
  • branch, spring

    branch, spring

  • immature acorns, male catkins and leaves

    immature acorns, male catkins and leaves

  • in habitat, summer

    in habitat, summer

  • plant habit, summer

    plant habit, summer

  • leaves


  • leaves


  • leaf tips

    leaf tips

  • flowers and fruit (acorn) development

    flowers and fruit (acorn) development

  • fruit (acorn) development

    fruit (acorn) development

  • acorns


  • plant habit, fall

    plant habit, fall

  • variation in fall color

    variation in fall color

  • leaves and fruit (acorns), fall

    leaves and fruit (acorns), fall

  • fruit (acorns)

    fruit (acorns)

  • acorns from different trees

    acorns from different trees

  • plant habit, winter

    plant habit, winter

  • trunk


  • trunk, bark

    trunk, bark

  • winter twigs and buds

    winter twigs and buds

  • buds, comparison

    buds, comparison