When Jacques Cartier arrived in 1534, the Red Oak (Quercus rubra) was reasonably common in the Island forest. Subsequent explorers and settlers valued its strong,fine-grained wood for furniture and cabinets.
Land-clearing and harvest of Red Oak have greatly reduced its distribution in the province. Today, it is restricted to relatively small scattered patches including the Royalty Oaks Natural Area in Charlottetown. Red Oak has been widely planted on public lands to re-establish populations across the Island and many private woodlot owners also plant it on suitable sites
Red Oak was proclaimed as the Island's Provincial Tree in 1987. However, while many consider the Red Oak to be the tree on the Provincial Coat-of-Arms, this has never been formally recognized.