Not a Bloom But Still Has Some BOOM!

Quercus texana ‘Corley’s Firecracker’
Corley’s firecracker Texas red oak

This beautiful tree has recently been planted in the east section of the Pollinator Garden. This unusual tree flushes red new growth and is a way to experience fall color in the spring. Or at the very least, it will confuse your neighbors!
Quercus texana ‘Corley’s Firecracker’ has a very interesting story. Found by Haines City native, Buster Corley of Southern Tree Source LLC, located in Monticello Florida, it was listed as Quercus nuttallii ‘Firecracker’ on its patent application which was submitted in November of 2015 and published in May of 2017.

The nomenclature for Quercus nuttallii has evolved. Quercus texana is now the accepted name for Quercus nuttallii, Quercus nuttallii var. cachensis, Quercus rubra var. texana, Quercus shumardii var. microcarpa and Quercus shumardii var. texana. This name change has been slow to move into the trade and you may still see this tree listed as Quercus nuttallii ‘Corley’s Firecracker’. Part of the confusion with this nomenclature is that oaks are known to hybridize easily, increasing the difficulty in which one may be able to determine the species.

Described as having moderately compact growth, and a broad pyramidal shape, a Quercus texana grows to between 50 and 80 feet with a 40 to 65-foot spread in zones 6-9. Our specimen at Bok Tower Gardens is doing very well in full sun, with moderate irrigation and good drainage.

The new growth flushing red is the most ornamental feature on this plant. It makes a stunningly, dramatic display as a focal point in a landscape. When grown where a cool fall will occur, this tree should have a second stunning display of red fall color.

The genus is Latin and means “oak tree” and the specific epithet means of Texas.

This blog was written by Brendan Huggins, Director of Horticulture and photographed by Cassidy Jones.