Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens is compiled by members of the Friends group and Gardens staff. We aim to build up to a comprehensive archive of trees in Belfast Botanic Gardens. Each article illustrates a tree growing in Belfast Botanic Gardens together with information from a range of sources. Where possible we will give the tree tag number - these are the small aluminium discs, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Quercus rubra
Red oak

Tag 488
54 deg 34.990N
5 deg 55.999W

The red oak (Quercus rubra) is one of the most important native timber trees of the Eastern United States. It occupies the same ecological position and the same cultural significance in its area as native oaks (Quercus robur and Quercus petraea) do in the UK. It was an important timber tree to the early settlers and is still important for house building and furniture.

The leaves of red oak have lobes that taper to a fine point or hair giving them a more spiky look than the leaves of English oak (see below). The acorns are more or less egg shaped. The red oak will make a substantial forest tree and in spite of its fine autumn colour is not suitable for a small garden. It has shown good pollution tolerance and is used as a city tree in the USA. The golden red oak is a variant with distinctive yellow leaves in spring - there is an example in Belfast Botanic Gardens that can be seen at the extreme right of the two photos below

Quercus rubra in Belfast Botanic gardens

Quercus rubra Autumn colour in Belfast Botanic Gardens

Two red oaks in Belfast Botanic Gardens Autumn colour of red oaks in Belfast Botanic Gardens

Quercus rubra leaf shape

Quercus rubra acorn

Leaf shape of red oak Acorn of red oak
Bark of Quercus rubra
Bark of red oak

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2009. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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