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Weed Identification

northern red oak



Scientific Name

Quercus rubra

Other Common Names:

common red oak
mountain red oak
eastern red oak
red oak
gray oak


Leaves are deciduous, alternate, elliptic, 10 inches 25 cm long and 8 inches 15 cm wide, divided less than halfway to midvein into 7-11 shallow wavy lobes with a few irregular bristletipped teeth, sinuses usually extending less than 1/2 distance to midrib, glabrous and dull green above, light dull green below with tufts of hairs in vein angles.

Identifying Characteristics

Native trees often reaching 20 to 30 m tall, less commonly up to 50 m; bark dark gray or black, shallowly furrowed into broad hard scaly ridges, inner bark reddish to pink; generally developing a strong taproot and network of deep, spreading lateralsThe common name is in reference to the red fall foliage color, red petioles, and reddish interior wood. This is a different species from southern red oak

Flower Seed Head

Male and female flowers are borne in separate catkins on the same tree (the species monoecious), the staminate catkins in leaf axils of the previous year's growth, the pistillate in 2 inches manyflowered spikes in the leaf axils. Acorns maturing in the second year, about 15-30 cm long, with a broad usually shallow cup, borne singly or in clusters of 2-5.

Where Found

Northern red oak is widely distributed throughout much of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. It grows from Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick southward to southwestern Georgia, Alabama, northern Mississippi, northern Arkansas, and eastern Oklahoma. Northern red oak extends westward through Minnesota and Iowa, south through eastern Nebraska and Kansas to eastern Oklahoma. It occurs locally in eastern and southwestern Louisiana and western Mississippi

Growth Habit

woody bush or tree

Thorns or Spines

not present

Approximate Flower Diameter


Dominant Flower Color


Flower Symmetry

not symmetrical

Leaf Hairs

no hairs

Leaf Shape


Leaf Arrangement


Leaf Margin


Leaf Structure


Leaf Stalk

shorter than leaf

Stem Hairs

has hairs
no hairs

Stem Cross Section

round or oval

Milky Sap

not present

Life Cycle



not present

Plant Type