Northern red oak

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Quercus rubra L.

Common name(s): northern red oak

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


-Fagaceae family

-can grow to 20-30 meters tall and have a 36 in DBH

-fruit is an acorn

  • occurs singularly or in clusters of 2-5

-begins to bear fruit at age 25

-do not grow fast enough to compete with fast woody sprouts

– may be confused with Q. velutina or Q. coccinea, which is endangered in ME; see left sidebar on Go Botany webpage


-The most destructive defoliating insect attacking northern red oak is the imported gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar).

-damage is done to northern red oak acorns by

  • the nut weevils (Curculio spp.)
  • gall-forming cynipids (Callirhytis spp.)
  • the filbertworm (Melissopus latiferreanus)
  • the acorn moth (Valentinia glandulella)

-acorns are an important food for squirrels deer, turkey, mice, voles, and other mammals and birds






Sander, Ivan L. “Norther Red Oak.” Quercus Rubra L, USDA, U.S. Forest Service,