Quercus coccinea Muenchh.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Quercus coccinea' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/quercus/quercus-coccinea/). Accessed 2024-04-22.


Common Names

  • Scarlet Oak

Other taxa in genus


(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Smooth and shiny.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Quercus coccinea' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/quercus/quercus-coccinea/). Accessed 2024-04-22.

A deciduous tree up to 70 or 80 ft high; young shoots warted, not downy; winter-buds downy towards the points, up to 14 in. long. Leaves 3 to 6 in. long, 212 to 412 in. wide (in young trees as much as 6 in. wide), obovate or oval, tapered at the base, deeply seven- sometimes nine-lobed, the lobes oblong or triangular, coarsely and unequally toothed at the apex, dark green above, paler beneath, both sides lustrous and glabrous, except that there are sometimes tufts of brownish down in the vein-axils beneath; stalk 112 to 212 in. long, glabrous, yellow. Acorns 12 to 1 in. long, two-thirds as wide, one-third to one-half enclosed in a deep, thin-edged cup.

Native of eastern N. America; introduced about the end of the 17th century. The true scarlet oak retains its leaves until November or December, and for the last six or eight weeks they are of a brilliant red, and make one of the richest of autumnal effects. But early frost may cause the leaves to wither before they have coloured, and trees raised from seed cannot be relied on always to give the autumn colouring expected of this species.

In its native country the scarlet oak does not attain such a large ultimate size as the red oak (Q. rubra) and reaches maturity at an earlier age. It is less demanding in its soil requirements, and is commonly found on dry, rather acid soils. Early this century, Elwes and Henry remarked on the scarcity of the scarlet oak in Britain and knew of no better tree than one at Arley Castle, measuring 78 × 614 ft (1904). The following specimens, recorded in recent years, are probably all less than a century old: Kew, by Main Gate, 56 × 614 ft (1967), near Oak collection, 60 × 614 ft (1965); Syon House, London, 70 × 814 ft (1968); Osterley Park, London, four trees 65 to 70 ft high, 534 to 634 ft in girth (1965); Windsor Great Park, China Island, 75 × 9 ft (1964); Frensham Hall, nr Haslemere, Surrey, pl. 1905, 80 × 614 ft (1968); Nymans, Sussex.pl. 1902, 80 × 714 ft (1968); Sheffield Park, Sussex, four trees 70 to 75 ft high, 7 to 814 ft in girth (1968); Grayswood Hill, Surrey, 80 × 814 ft (1971); Westonbirt, Glos., opposite Wigmore Bottom, 80 × 534 ft (1967), Circular Drive, 78 × 814 ft (1969), three in The Downs pl. 1926, 57 to 65 ft high, 5 to 6 ft in girth; Saltram House, Devon, 77 × 714 ft (1970); Killerton, Devon, in Park 55 × 7 ft (1970); Sandon Park, Staffs., 74 × 934 ft (1969).

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

specimens: Kew, by Main Gate, 52 × 634 ft (1973) and, near Oak Collection, 75 × 7 ft (1979); Syon House, London, 80 × 914 ft (1982); Osterley Park, London, 98 × 614 ft, 85 × 612 ft and 80 × 7 ft (1982); Sheffield Park, Sussex, 80 × 9 ft (1980); Burford House, Surrey, 85 × 912 ft (1984); Grayswood Hill, Haslemere, Surrey, the tree mentioned is Q. rubra; Bramshott Hall, Hants, 82 × 1012 ft, a very fine tree (1983); Westonbirt, Glos., opposite Wigmore Bottom, 92 × 612 ft (1984); Killerton, Devon, in Park, 55 × 7 ft (1970).

cv. ‘Splendens’. – The tree at Kew, grafted at 1 ft, measures 75 × 812 ft, and the original tree in the Knap Hill Nursery, Surrey, is 66 ft high and almost the same in girth as the Kew tree (1984). There is an example in the Savill Garden, Windsor Great Park, of 82 × 634 ft (1982).

'Splendens' ('Knap Hill')

A selection with unusually brilliant autumn colouring, introduced by the Knap Hill Nursery at the end of the last century. Award of Garden Merit 1927. A specimen at Kew, grafted at 1 ft, is 65 × 7{1/4} ft (1969).