Scarlet Oak

=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 a
ong 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.