Trees , deciduous, to 30 m; lower trunk without stubs of dead branches. Bark dark gray to dark brown, irregularly fissured with scaly ridges, inner bark orangish pink. Twigs reddish brown, (1-)2-3.5 mm diam., glabrous. Terminal buds dark reddish brown, conic to ovoid, 4-7 mm, noticeably 5-angled in cross section, usually silvery- or tawny-pubescent distal to middle. Leaves: petiole 25-60 mm, glabrous. Leaf blade elliptic to ovate or obovate, 70-160 × 80-130 mm, base obtuse to truncate, margins with 5-9 deep lobes and 18-50 awns, lobes distally expanded, sinuses usually extending more than 1/2 distance to midrib, apex acute; surfaces abaxially glabrous except for minute axillary tufts of tomentum, adaxially glossy light green, glabrous, secondary veins raised on both surfaces. Acorns biennial; cup turbinate to hemispheric, 7-13 mm high × 16.5-31.5 mm wide, covering 1/3-1/2 nut, outer surface light to dark reddish brown, glossy, glabrous to puberulent, inner surface light brown, glabrous, occasionally with ring of pubescence around scar, scales often tuberculate, base broad, glossy, margins strongly concave with tips tightly appressed, acute to attenuate; nut oblong to subglobose, 12-22 × 10-21 mm, glabrous, with 1 or more rings of fine pits at apex, scar diam. 6.5-13.5 mm. 2 n = 24. Flowering spring. Poor soils, well-drained uplands, dry slopes, and ridges, occasionally on poorly drained sites; 0-1500 m; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Ga., Ill., Ind., Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis. Trees having acorns with broad, distinctly warty cups are sometimes classified as Quercus coccinea var. tuberculata Sargent. Quercus coccinea reportedly hybridizes with Q . imbricaria , Q . ilicifolia (= Q . × robbinsii Trelease), Q . laevis , and Q . palustris (E. J. Palmer 1948) and with Q . phellos , Q . rubra , and Q . velutina (= Q . × fontana Laughlin).
Tree 20 - 30 m tall, trunk to 1 m in diameter Leaves: alternate, stalked, shiny bright green above, paler beneath, 8 - 15 cm long, 7 - 13 cm wide, nearly square base, five to nine bristle-tipped lobes separated by C-shaped depressions reaching at least half way to the midrib, tufts of hair sometimes in vein axils. Leaves turn scarlet red in fall and persist into winter. Flowers: either male or female, borne on the same tree (monoecious). Male catkins are reddish and 7 - 10 cm long, and the bright red female flowers are tiny and borne one to five near the leaf axils. Fruit: an acorn, solitary or in pairs, maturing in two seasons. The stalkless or short-stalked and bowl-shaped cup covers one-third to half of the nut and has reddish brown to orange, tightly appressed, and lightly hairy scales. Nut 1.2 - 2.5 cm long, egg-shaped, usually with concentric rings near tip. Bark: light brown and smooth, becoming darker brown to gray with shallow fissures, inner bark pink to red. Twigs: pale green and hairy when young, becoming light brown and smooth with age. Buds: dark reddish brown, 3.5 - 7 mm long, egg-shaped to conical. Each terminal bud is surrounded by a cluster of lateral buds. Form: open and rounded with slender branches.
Similar species: Many species in the red oak group have highly variable, lobed leaves with bristle tips. Quercus rubra has shallowly lobed leaves with a somewhat dull upper surface and a very shallow saucer-shaped acorn cup that covers only the base of the nut. Quercus velutina has leaves with depressions reaching half way to the midvein, inner bark that is bright yellow to orange, and fringed acorn cups that fit loosely and cover one-third to half the nut. The leaves of Quercus shumardii have depressions reaching three-quarters the distance to the midvein, the tufts of hairs at the leaf axils are very prominent, the buds are grayish to yellow, and the acorn cup is saucer-shaped and covers one-third of the nut. Quercus palustris has leaves with U-shaped depressions reaching three-quarters the distance to the midvein, dead branches remaining on the trunk, and a shallow acorn cup covering the base of the small nut. Quercus ellipsoidalis has leaves with depressions reaching three-quarters the distance to the midvein, dead branches remaining on the trunk, and an acorn cup enclosing up to half of the often elliptic nut.
Flowering: mid April to early June
Habitat and ecology: Common in well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils, often on upland sites.
Occurence in the Chicago region: native
Notes: Quercus coccinea naturally hybridizes with Q. velutina (Q. x fontana).
Etymology: Quercus is the Latin name for oak. Coccinea comes from the Latin word meaning scarlet.
Author: The Morton Arboretum
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
This species is local and, no doubt, has a wider range than the map indicates. It is so often confused with the black oak that all records for it must be carefully checked. It is always intimately associated with black oak and is found in poor soil mostly on the crests of ridges. I believe it has its mass distribution in the unglaciated area, and outside of that it is a rare and local tree. [Variety tuberculata] differs from the typical form in that the back of the scales is prominently thickened below the middle of the turbinate cup. The upper row of scales is thin and forms a distinct marginal ring. This form has been found in Lawrence and Vanderburgh Counties.
Tree to 25 m, the twigs soon glabrescent; inner bark red; lvs glabrous or with minute tufts of stellate hairs in the vein-axils beneath, deeply 7-9-lobed, the lobes oblong or more often somewhat broadened distally, each with a few bristle-tipped teeth or shallow lobes, the sinuses rounded, the upper often much wider than the lower; upper edge of the lf-lobes forwardly arcuate; acorn-cup turbinate, 16-22 mm wide, smooth inside, covering about half the 1.5-2 cm nut; scales relatively large, closely appressed, soon losing most of their pubescence, the cup becoming glossy. Dry upland soil, commoner ne.; sw. Me. to Ga., w. to s. Mich., Mo., and Miss.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.