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Northern Red Oak vs Southern Red Oak

Where their ranges overlap, northern and southern red oak are usually relatively easy to tell apart by leaf shape. They can occasionally be found together in the same habitat, although northern red oak prefers richer woods whereas southern red oak prefers more open woodlands.

Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Southern Red Oak (Quercus falcata)

A large tree and one of the major components of the forests of eastern North America, the northern red oak has a wider range than its name may suggest, extending quite far into the "deep south", but also covering a large portion of the northeastern U.S. and into Canada.
A medium to large red oak with, as the name suggests, a more southerly distribution than the northern red oak (Quercus rubra), although their ranges overlap considerably.
Leaves have 7-11 lobes. Leaves look relatively symmetric side-to-side. Leaf base is an acute angle.
Photo © Aaron Boers, CC BY 4.0.
Most leaves have 3-5 lobes. Leaves frequently asymmetrical side-to-side. Leaf base distinctly bell-shaped.
Photo © Katja Schulz, CC BY 4.0.
Bark of mature trees consists of long, unbroken ridges alternating with shallow, rough-textured troughs. Outermost portions of bark are smooth in texture.
Photo © Katja Schulz, CC BY 4.0.
Bark of mature trees is scaly, darker in color. Vertical ridges are themselves broken by numerous horizontal cracks. Outermost portions of bark rougher-textured.
Photo © Katja Schulz, CC BY 4.0.
Acorns larger. Acorn caps cover 1/3rd to 1/4th the nut; nut surface is smooth.
Photo © Chris Kratzer, CC BY-SA 4.0.
Acorns smaller. Acorn cap covers 1/3rd to 1/2 nut; nut surface is wrinkled.
Photo © Doug Goldman, CC BY 4.0.