Science, Tech, Math › Animals & Nature Southern Red Oak, a Common Tree in North America Quercus falcata, a Top 100 Common Tree in North America Share Flipboard Email Print Animals & Nature Forestry Individual Hardwood Species Tree Identification Basics Arboriculture Tree Structure & Physiology The Science Of Growing Trees Conifer Species Pests, Diseases, and Wildfires Tree Planting and Reforestation Amphibians Birds Habitat Profiles Mammals Reptiles Wildlife Conservation Insects Marine Life Dinosaurs Evolution View More By Steve Nix Forestry Expert B.S., Forest Resource Management, University of Georgia Steve Nix is a natural resources consultant and a former forest resources analyst for the state of Alabama. He is a member of the Society of American Foresters. our editorial process Steve Nix Updated January 29, 2020 Southern red oak is a moderate-to-tall sized tree. Leaves are variable but usually have a prominent pair of lobes toward the leaf tip. The tree is also called Spanish oak, possibly because it is native to areas of early Spanish colonies. The Silviculture of Southern Red Oak (John Lawson/Getty Images) The uses of oak include almost everything that mankind has ever derived from trees-timber, food for man and animals, fuel, watershed protection, shade and beauty, tannin, and extractives. The Images of Southern Red Oak (Katja Schulz/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0) Forestryimages.org provides several images of parts of Southern red oak. The tree is a hardwood and the lineal taxonomy is Magnoliopsida > Fagales > Fagaceae > Quercus falcata Michx. Southern red oak is also commonly called spanish oak, red oak and cherrybark oak. The Range of Southern Red Oak Quercus falcata range map. (Elbert L. Little, Jr./USGS/Wikimedia Commons) Southern red oak extends from Long Island, NY, southward in New Jersey to northern Florida, west across the Gulf States to the valley of the Brazos River in Texas; north in eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, southern Missouri, southern Illinois and Ohio, and western West Virginia. It is comparatively rare in the North Atlantic States where it grows only near the coast. In the South Atlantic States its primary habitat is the Piedmont; it is less frequent in the Coastal Plain and is rare in the bottom lands of the Mississippi Delta. Southern Red Oak at Virginia Tech Dendrology A Southern Red Oak (Quercus falcata) specimen in Marengo County, Alabama. (Jeffrey Reed/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0) Leaf: Alternate, simple, 5 to 9 inches long and roughly obovate in outline with bristle tipped lobes. Two forms are common: 3 lobes with shallow sinuses (common on younger trees) or 5 to 7 lobes with deeper sinuses. Often resembles a turkey foot with one very long hooked terminal lobe with two shorter lobes on the sides. Shiny green above, paler and fuzzy below. Twig: Reddish brown in color, may be gray-pubescent (particularly rapidly growing stems such as stump sprouts) or glabrous; multiple terminal buds are dark reddish brown, pubescent, pointed and only 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, laterals buds are similar but shorter. Fire Effects on Southern Red Oak (Jeroen Komen/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0) In general, southern red and cherrybark oaks up to 3 inches (7.6 cm) in DBH are top-killed by low-severity fire. High-severity fire can top-kill larger trees and may kill rootstocks as well.