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Quercus rubra - American red oak


The leaves of the red oak are larger, and the lobes more pointed, than those of the native oak (Quercus robur). Their strong red autumn colour dominates the landscape in their native range, the eastern parts of North America, but in Finland they aren’t usually as strongly coloured, usually a brownish red.

The red oak has a broad range in North America. In Finland, the climate is very demanding so seed provenance is important. The old red oak wood at Mustila has grown well but hardens off rather late, so is probably not of an especially northern provenance. New plantings at the bottom edge of Etelärinne (Southern Slope) are from a variety of acorns gathered by Mustila expeditions in 1993 and 1996. A little surprisingly, the earliest and best autumn colour develops on trees whose provenance is the northern part of Wisconsin, USA.

The acorn of the red oak has been chosen as the emblem of the ”Friends of Arboretum Mustila” society. The red oak is one of the basic trees of the Arboretum collection and the acorn symbolises the birth of a new tree, or even a whole forest.