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English Oak

Quercus robur

  • Name also: Pedunculate Oak, Common Oak, Truffle Oak, French Oak
  • Family: Oak Family – Fagaceae
  • Growing form and height: Tree. 10–20 m (30–65 ft.).
  • Flower: Small, yellowish-green. Male and female flowers in different inflorescences. Male inflorescence a pendent catkin. Female inflorescence an erect, 2–4-flowered catkin. Wind-pollinated.
  • Leaves: Narrowly obovate, 10–15 cm (4–6 in.) long, leathery, pinnately lobed, lobes rounded. Pubescent when young, later glabrous.
  • Buds: Chubby egg-shaped, light-brown, scales darker on edges. Buds in bunches on the tops of branches.
  • Fruit: 2–2.5 cm (0.4–0.6 in.) long, penduculate acorn (a nut surrounded by a cup-like structure, cupule). Acorns in groups of 1–4.
  • Habitat: Coniferous and mixed forests, margins of rock outcrops. Also a park tree, often an escape.
  • Flowering time: June.
  • Endangerment: Big trees (perimeter over 170 cm, ca. 6 ft.) are protected on the Åland Islands.

Oaks (Quercus spp.) are a very old genus. Numerous fossils from the early Cretaceous are known from North America. The genus comprises more than 600 species. For instance in the Mediterranean climate, evergreen leathery-leaved oaks are typical.

English or pedunculate oak is a tree with a thick trunk and robust branches. In Finland, it is indigenous primarily in the south-west. It is the county plant of Southwestern Finland. English oak demands plenty of light and humidity. It flowers while coming into leaf in spring. It is a long-lived tree and can reach an age of 1,000 years.

English oak is a symbol of persistence and stability. Vikings regarded it as the tree of Tor, their god of thunder. In later times, respected persons have been crowned with oak wreaths. English oak yields valued timber used in joinery and for making parquet. Earlier it was frequently used in shipbuilding. The bark was a source of tannin and herbal medicines.

English oaks more than 170 cm (67 in.) in circumference are protected in the Åland Islands.

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