Photographer & Copyright

© Michael Ellis

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CC BY 4.0

Inclusion in Plant ID / Comparison Guides

This photo is featured in 2 plant ID/comparison guides:

collage of Scarlet Oak and Black Oak

Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea) vs. Black Oak (Quercus velutina)

Updated November 20th, 2019

Black oak is more variable than scarlet oak. Some trees, especially young trees growing in shade, are easily identifiable as black oak, but others can be difficult to distinguish. Mature trees have similar bark. In identifications it is easier to exclude scarlet oak than black oak; black oaks can have pubescence on twigs and petioles. Acorns look similar but can be distinguished by the presence or absence of rings of pits, and the looseness of cap scales. A close view of the buds can also usually distinguish them.

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collage of Pin Oak and Scarlet Oak

Pin Oak (Quercus palustris) vs. Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)

Updated November 6th, 2019

These plants are frequently confused, especially when used as landscaping plants, because both have deeply-cut leaves. Wild plants have almost opposite habitat preferences and rarely occur together. Pruning of landscaping plants can also make ID difficult by obscuring shape. Plants can be easily distinguished by acorns, and with more effort, by pubescence on buds and leaf shape.

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