Coefficient of Conservatism:
Coefficient of Wetness:
A. A. Reznicek
Q. coccinea of Michigan Flora.
Usually associated with other upland oaks and jack pine, on dry sandy soils.
This species belongs to a group often referred to as “scrub oaks,” (or the Q. coccinea complex) usually associated with very sterile, well drained, sandy plains and glacial deposits. They tend to hold their rigid leaves much longer into winter than their near relatives.
Mature leaves are usually glabrous, except sometimes for tufts of pubescence in the axils of the main veins beneath, but a few specimens have leaves that have retained some pubescence on the petiole and midrib above, suggesting introgression from Q. velutina. More clear-cut hybrids have angled buds (smaller than in Q. velutina) and/or a suggestion of fringe in the acorn cups. Some plants (or the branches collected for specimens) have rather shallowly lobed leaves resembling small ones of Q. rubra, but they are usually shiny above; when acorns are present, their small size, up to half covered by the cup, and the often densely ciliate apical portion of the small (frequently ± angled) winter buds, will further help to distinguish such specimens from Q. rubra. Hybrids with Q. imbricaria are noted under that species. Hybrids with Q. velutina may be called Q. ×palaeolithicola Trel.; this is the most common oak hybrid in the state, occurring throughout the overlapping ranges of the species in Michigan and even a bit beyond the documented range of Q. velutina, to southern Cheboygan Co. and Menominee Co.
Scarlet Oak, Q. coccinea Münchh., has been regularly reported from especially southeastern Michigan. Typical Q. coccinea differs from Q. ellipsoidalis in having larger acorns, buds, and leaves and concentric rings of tiny pits surrounding the tip of the acorn. The most recent work by Hipp & Weber (2008) finds that all plants studied in our area, despite great morphological variability and even some “coccinea” like features, are separated from the more southern and eastern Q. coccinea genetically and may best be considered Q. ellipsoidalis. Hipp (2010) presents a clear and well illustrated exposition of the problem, and the possibility that Q. coccinea could yet be documented in southernmost Michigan.