Quercus coccinea


Common Names: Scarlet oak
Category: Trees
Sub-category: Oaks

A medium-large deciduous tree growing to 20 to 30 meters tall with an open, rounded crown. The leaves are glossy green, 7 to 17 cm long and 8 to 13 cm broad, lobed, with seven lobes, and deep sinuses between the lobes. Each lobe has 3 to 7 bristle-tipped teeth. The leaf is hairless (unlike the related pin oak, which has tufts of pale orange-brown down where the lobe veins join the central vein). The common English name is derived from the autumn coloration of the foliage, which generally becomes bright scarlet; in contrast, pin oak foliage generally turns bronze in autumn. The acorns are ovoid, 7 to 13 mm broad and 17 to 31 mm long, a third to a half covered in a deep cup, green maturing pale brown about 18 months after pollination.

The scarlet oak can be mistaken for the pin oak, the black oak, or occasionally the red oak. On scarlet oak the sinuses between lobes are "C"-shaped in comparison to pin oak (Q. palustris), which has "U"-shaped sinuses and the acorns are half covered by a deep cap.

It occurs on dry, sandy, usually acidic soils.

Edible Notes: The acorns are edible, but only after being properly prepared by leeching the tannins and bitter flavors out thru multiple soakings of water. If not prepared properly, it can taste bitter and terrible. Otherwise, after preparation, the acorns can be ground into flour and baked into bread. Acorn flour can sometimes be found online.
Warnings: Unprocessed acorns contain tannins which are bitter and may upset the stomach. They cannot be eaten raw.
Sightings