Provincial TreeWhen Jacques Cartier arrived in 1534, the Red Oak Quercus rubra was reasonably common in the Island forest, especially in the area east of what is now called Tracadie Bay. Subsequent explorers and settlers valued its strong, heavy, fine-grained wood for furniture, cabinets, veneer, and barrel making. Its bark is high in tannic acid and was probably used in leather making.
Land-clearing and harvest of Red Oak have greatly reduced its distribution in the province. Today it is restricted to relatively small scattered patches such as the Royalty Oaks Natural Area in Charlottetown. Although many consider the Red Oak to be the tree on the Provincial Coat-of-Arms (adopted in 1905), this has never been formally recognized. The acorns visible on the largest tree appear to be those of white, rather than red oak.