Quercus rubra


Common Names: Northern red oak, champion oak
Category: Trees
Sub-category: Oaks

It is a native of North America, in the northeastern United States. It grows straight and tall, to 90 feet, with a trunk of up to 20 to 40 inches in diameter. It has stout branches growing at right angles to the stem, forming a narrow round-topped head. Northern red oak is easy to recognize by its bark, which feature bark ridges that appear to have shiny stripes down the center. A few other oaks have bark with this kind of appearance in the upper tree, but the northern red oak is the only tree with the striping all the way down the trunk. Bark is dark reddish grey brown, with broad, thin, rounded ridges, scaly. On young trees and large stems, smooth and light gray. Branchlets slender, at first bright green, shining, then dark red, finally dark brown. Bark is brownish gray, becoming dark brown on old trees. Leaves are alternate, seven to nine-lobed, oblong-ovate to oblong, five to ten inches long, four to six inches broad; seven to eleven lobes tapering gradually from broad bases, acute, and usually repandly dentate and terminating with long bristle-pointed teeth; the second pair of lobes from apex are largest; midrib and primary veins conspicuous. When full grown are dark green and smooth, sometimes shining above, yellow green, smooth or hairy on the axils of the veins below. In autumn they turn a rich red, sometimes brown. The acorns mature in about 18 months after pollination; solitary or in pairs, sessile or stalked; nut oblong-ovoid with broad flat base, full, with acute apex, one half to one and one-fourth of an inch long, first green, maturing nut-brown; cup, saucer-shaped and shallow,usually covering only the base, sometimes one-fourth of the nut, thick, shallow, reddish brown, somewhat downy within, covered with thin imbricated reddish brown scales. Its kernel is white and very bitter.

A common tree in Connecticut, found in deciduous and mixed forests and residential and urban areas.

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