Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

Southern Red Oak (Red Oak)
Quercus falcata
Fagaceae

Leaves are simple, alternate, deciduous, with 3-5 bristle-tipped, falcate lobes. The terminal lobe is often 3-pronged. Leaves are shiny and droopy with rusty hair below. Leaves have prominent bell-shaped leaf bases. Twigs are gray-brown with rust colored hairs and buds are ovoid, red-brown, and hairy. Bark is brown-black, fissured, rough, and blocky at the base. Fruit is an acorn 1/2 inches long with a shaggy cap covering 1/3 of the orange-brown striped, pubescent nut. The acorn matures in two seasons. Form is up to 24 m (80 ft) in height and 1 m (3 ft) in diameter. Southern red oak is usually found on poorer sites in the southeastern U.S. The wood is used as red oak lumber. Acorns eaten by game birds, deer, and many small mammals.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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