Ed Golson Outdoor Education

red oak tree

Scientific Name: Quercus rubra

Description: These deciduous trees are well known for their special fruit: the acorn. The acorn is a valuable food source for many forest animals. The red oak itself grows up to 90 feet tall. It grows quite quickly; it has been known to grow up to 2 feet every year. The leaves of this tree are easy to identify. Each leaf is 4 to 8 inches long and has 7-11 pointy lobes. The bark of young trees of this species is often smooth and dark gray. As the tree gets older, it develops shallow ridges and shallow furrows. It has been said that the bark of older red oak trees resembles ski tracks.  

The red oak has a close relative that is also native to Michigan: the white oak ( Quercus alba ). The red oak is much more common however. The red and white oak can look quite similar, but they can be distinguished if you look closely. The leaves of the white oak are rounded at the tips instead of pointed. Also, the bark of the white oak is not as deeply furrowed as the red oak.





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