Keystone Value: The genus Quercus (Oak) supports over 500 species of butterfly and moth caterpillars, providing food for a variety of birds and mammals.
Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) is a large deciduous tree that is tolerant of a wide range of soils and sites. It is often used in parks and large gardens as a specimen tree or shade tree, and they can live up to 300-400 years. Northern Red Oak also make great street trees as they are hardy in city conditions and can withstand air pollution. In the fall, leaves turn a beautiful crimson or golden-orange. Like other oaks, the Northern Red Oak has excellent wildlife value. Not only is it a keystone species that hosts hundreds of caterpillars, but it also provides habitat and food for a variety of birds and mammals. It a larval host for the Gray hairstreak (shown above), among hundreds of others.