Common in well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils, often on upland sites.
Flowers mid-April to early June.
Quercus coccinea Münchh.
Growth form: Tree. Size: 20 - 30 m tall, trunk to 1 m in diameter. Form: open and rounded with slender branches. Bark: light brown and smooth, becoming darker brown to gray with shallow fissures, inner bark pink to red. Twigs: pale green and hairy when young, becoming light brown and smooth with age. Buds: dark reddish brown, 3.5 - 7 mm long, egg-shaped to conical. Each terminal bud is surrounded by a cluster of lateral buds. Leaves: alternate, stalked, shiny bright green above, paler beneath, 8 - 15 cm long, 7 - 13 cm wide, nearly square base, five to nine bristle-tipped lobes separated by C-shaped depressions reaching at least half way to the midrib, tufts of hair sometimes in vein axils. Leaves turn scarlet red in fall and persist into winter. Flowers: either male or female, borne on the same tree (monoecious). Male catkins are reddish and 7 - 10 cm long, and the bright red female flowers are tiny and borne one to five near the leaf axils. Fruit: an acorn, solitary or in pairs, maturing in two seasons. The stalkless or short-stalked and bowl-shaped cup covers one-third to half of the nut and has reddish brown to orange, tightly appressed, and lightly hairy scales. Nut 1.2 - 2.5 cm long, egg-shaped, usually with concentric rings near tip.
[From vPlants.org, accessed 19 December 2010]
Many species in the red oak group have highly variable, lobed leaves with bristle tips. Quercus rubra has shallowly lobed leaves with a somewhat dull upper surface and a very shallow saucer-shaped acorn cup that covers only the base of the nut. Quercus velutina has leaves with depressions reaching half way to the midvein, inner bark that is bright yellow to orange, and fringed acorn cups that fit loosely and cover one-third to half the nut. The leaves of Quercus shumardii have depressions reaching three-quarters the distance to the midvein, the tufts of hairs at the leaf axils are very prominent, the buds are grayish to yellow, and the acorn cup is saucer-shaped and covers one-third of the nut. Quercus palustris has leaves with U-shaped depressions reaching three-quarters the distance to the midvein, dead branches remaining on the trunk, and a shallow acorn cup covering the base of the small nut. Quercus ellipsoidalis has leaves with depressions reaching three-quarters the distance to the midvein, dead branches remaining on the trunk, and an acorn cup enclosing up to half of the often elliptic nut.