southern red oak
Quercus falcata Michx.
  • LEAVES: deciduous, alternate, simple; 5-9” long by 4-5” wide, elliptical to ovate with 3-7 lateral lobes, lobe tips acute and bearing bristle tips, prominent lobes typically falcate, blade base rounded; generally a typical sun leaf gives the appearance that the tree is giving you “the finger”; shade leaves and leaves of seedlings and saplings typically lack lateral lobes, and have only a few shallow terminal lobes and blade shape that is broadest near the apex, resembling a duck foot print; leaves dark green above and somewhat lustrous, pale green to rusty below
  • FLOWER: unisexual, plants monoecious, male flowers in catkins, female flowers inconspicuous, born singly or in short few-flowered axillary spikes
  • FRUIT: subglobose acorn ca. 0.5” long, cup saucer-like and embracing ca. 1/3 of the acorn
  • TWIGS: stout, gray when young, aging to reddish brown; buds lance-ovoid, 0.25” long, scales brown, with antrorsely appressed hairs on scale surfaces
  • BARK: bark dark gray-brown to blackish, thick, with deep furrows and blocky plates
  • FORM: medium to large tree
  • HABITAT: infertile soils of old landscapes, dry to mesic upland longleaf pine woodlands, shortleaf pine-oak-hickory woodlands; typically on sandy loam soils
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative Upland (FACU): Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: southeastern U.S. (broadly), north to IL, IN, OH, PA, NJ [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: cabinetry, furniture, construction lumber, flooring, veneer, railroad ties, fuelwood; lumber is inferior to Quercus pagoda and Q. shumardii
  • WILDLIFE: hard mast for many species including squirrels, raccoon, deer, turkey, woodpeckers, nuthatch, and grackles
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. red oak of upland, infertile sites
    2. bark tight, dark gray to black, blocky-ridged and furrowed
    3. leaves with falcate major lobes, typical sun leaves have the overall appearance of giving one “the finger”