=Habitat and Range.=--Most common in dry soil.
Maine,--valley of the Androscoggin, southward; New Hampshire and
Vermont,--not authoritatively reported by recent observers;
Massachusetts,--more common in the eastern than western sections,
sometimes covering considerable areas; Rhode Island and
South to the middle states and along the mountains to North
Carolina and Tennessee; reported from Florida; west to Minnesota,
Nebraska, and Missouri.
=Habit.=--A medium-sized tree, 30-50 feet high and 1-3 feet in trunk
diameter; attaining greater dimensions southward; trunk straight and
tapering, branches regular, long, comparatively slender, not contorted,
the lower nearly horizontal, often declined at the ends; branchlets
slender; head open, narrow-oblong or rounded, graceful; foliage deeply
cut, shining green in summer and flaming scarlet in autumn; the most
brilliant and most elegant of the New England oaks.
=Bark.=--Trunk in old trees dark gray, roughly and firmly ridged; inner
bark red; young trees and branches smoothish, often marked with dull red
seams and more or less mottled with gray.
=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds small, reddish-brown, ovate to oval,
acutish, partially hidden by enlarged base of petiole. Leaves simple,
alternate, extremely variable, more commonly 3-6 inches long, two-thirds
as wide, bright green and shining above, paler beneath, smooth on both
sides but often with a tufted pubescence on the axils beneath, turning
scarlet in autumn, deeply lobed, the rounded sinuses sometimes reaching
nearly to the midrib; lobes 5-9, rather slender and set at varying
angles, sparingly toothed and bristly tipped; apex acute; base truncate
to acute; leafstalk 1-1-1/2 inches long, slender, swollen at base.
=Inflorescence.=--Early in May. Appearing when the leaves are half
grown; sterile catkins 2-4 inches long; calyx most commonly 4-parted;
pubescent; stamens commonly 4, exserted; anthers yellow, glabrous:
pistillate flowers red; stigmas long, spreading, reflexed.
=Fruit.=--Maturing in the autumn of the second year, single or in twos
or threes, sessile or on rather short footstalks: cup top-shaped or
cup-shaped, about half the length of the acorn, occasionally nearly
enclosing it, smooth, more or less polished, thin-edged; scales closely
appressed, firm, elongated, triangular, sides sometimes rounded,
homogeneous in the same plant: acorn 1/2-3/4 inch long, variable in
shape, oftenest oval to oblong: kernel white within; less bitter than
kernel of the black oak.
=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; grows in any
light, well-drained soil, but prefers a fertile loam. Occasionally
offered by nurserymen, but as it is disposed to make unsymmetrical young
trees it is not grown in quantity, and it is not desirable for streets.
Its rapid growth, hardiness, beauty of summer foliage, and its brilliant
colors in autumn make it desirable in ornamental plantations. Propagated
from the seed.
1. Winter buds.
2. Flowering branch.
3. Sterile flowers, side view.
4. Fertile flower, side view.
5. Fruiting branch.
=Quercus velutina, Lam.=
Quercus tinctoria, Bartram. Quercus coccinea, var. tinctoria, Gray.
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