Southern red oak

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Quercus falcata

S.E. North America

Location: map coordinates Q-12 (southeast corner of Baker Building), N 39°11'9'' W 75°32'43''

Planting history: probably planted by Dr. N. Dill, 1960’s-1970’s.

  • moderate-sized to tall deciduous tree
  • etymology: Quercus = the Latin name; falcata = sickle-shaped (referring to the terminal lobe of the the leaf)
  • also known as Spanish oak, or sometimes turkey-foot oak (for the leaf shape)
  • leaves simple, alternate, lobed; often 3 main lobes near tip; very variable; terminal lobe often elongate and somewhat falcate (sickle-shaped), hence the scientific name of this species; leaf base rounded; leaf underside grey hairy
  • monoecious (separate male and female flowers on same tree); flowers tiny; male flowers in drooping catkins, female flowers inconspicuous
  • fruit is an acorn (develops from ovary of female flower)
  • in the “red/black oak group”: leaf lobes with bristle-tips; acorn matures in 2 years, relatively bitter and inedible unless processed
  • end buds clustered (typical of oaks)
  • wood not prime lumber (not rot- or crack-resistant), but used in construction, furniture, fuel, etc.
  • native to southeastern U.S., as far north as New Jersey
  • habitat dry upland soils; sometimes moister soils

Native species, State Ranks: S5 (very common) in the coastal plain; and S2 (very rare and of conservation concern; typically between 6 and 20 known populations) in the piedmont, of Delaware
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