Red Oak

Quercus rubra

This tree is found at the western end of Acacia Walk beside the hut as shown. It is a large tree with equally large leaves, which can be up to 8 inches long. Due to its size and excessively broad crown it is not found in gardens but is popular in parks because of its autumn colour. The leaves can be dull red or scarlet, then a little yellow and finishing a snuff brown.

This is one of the tress which is part of the great “Fall” colour on the eastern seaboard of North America. There are 20 different Red Oaks and up to 50 hybrids. Younger trees are often redder and the tree has the peculiarity of changing colour on a single whole branch at a time early in the autumn.It is not a long lived tree. The oldest specimens at Kew and Westonbirt date from the mid nineteenth century.

It first arrived in 1724 and is known to live 200 years so none of the early introductions are still with us. The wood is of little use, being too porous. In America some furniture is made but its main asset is that it burns well. Tall oaks such as this have always been accused of attracting lightning. The association of druids and English oaks is said to be linked to the same phenomenon; the lightning supposedly connecting the tree with a sky god. These trees can reach 150 feet, or even 200 feet near the Great lakes in North America. So, not one to stand below and hold your head up high in a storm!