Botanical Name: Quercus coccinea
Common Name: Scarlet Oak
Origin: E. & C. North America
Notable Feature: The common name comes from the intense fall color of its leaves; this scarlet color is the most brilliant of any oak.
Habit: A medium to large, deciduous, upright tree growing to 70 to 75 feet in height (occasionally reaching heights of 150 feet) with a 40 to 50-foot spread. Strongly pyramidal, usually with a central leader and stout, ascending branches.
Flower: Species is monoecious -- male and female flowers are borne separately on the same tree. Blooming occurs in early spring as the leaves emerge. The male flowers are borne in slender yellowish green catkins between 1 and 2” long; the female flowers are borne on very short spikes.
Fruit: Acorns ½ to 1” long grow in a bowl-like cup more than ¼” deep. As members of the Red Oak Group, the acorns require two years to reach maturity.
Foliage: The alternate, glossy, dark green leaves are 3 to 6” long and deeply lobed. Leaf tips and lobes end in short bristles, a characteristic of species found in the Red Oak Group. Fall color is a rich scarlet red.
Interesting Fact: This species grows abundantly on the shores of Massachusetts Bay. Since it holds its colorful leaves into winter, it was there to greet the Pilgrims when they landed on that gray November day.