Northern red oakThe northern red oak, Quercus rubra (Quercus borealis in some references), is one of the red oak group, and is the most important timber tree of the North American oaks. In the forests, the red oak grows straight and tall, and the wood is of high value. Other trees are also cut and marketed as red oak, although their wood is not of as high a quality. These include black oak, scarlet oak, pin oak, Shumard oak, and Spanish oak.
The northern red oak is so-called to distinguish the name from the southern red oak, another name for the Spanish oak. It is easy to recognize from its bark because it features bark ridges that appear to have shiny stripes down the center. A few other oaks have bark with this kind of appearance in the upper tree, but the northern red oak is the only tree with the striping all the way down the trunk.
The northern red oak leaves have more lobes and are less deeply cut than other oaks of the red oak group.
The northern red oak grows from the north end of the Great Lakes east to the maritime provinces of Canada and south as far as Georgia and Alabama, it has been widely introduced outside of it's range. The northern red oak favors mesic or moderately moist valley and hillside sites with good soil that is slightly acidic.