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English Oak - Quercus robur

Englis Oak - Quercus robur

Main features

  • Can reach 20 - 40m tall

  • Broad crown

  • Twisted branches

  • Grey bark that is deeply ridged with age

  • Leaves are deeply and irregularly lobed

  • Leaf has very little stem

  • Flower in the form of catkins in sping

  • Cupped seeds called acorns

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English Oak - Quercus robur

Edible tree - novice

Other common names: Common Oak, Oak, Pendunculate Oak


Scientific name meaning: The genus name Quercu is a Latin name given to Oak trees. Robur is the Latin word for strength

Season all year

Habitat - where will I find it? Found in woodland, as as individuals in old pasture. 

It is native to Britain and most of the Northern hemisphere

Description - what does it look like? English Oak is a deciduous tree reaching 20 to 20m.

It has twisting branches that form a dense and broad crown.

The deeply and irregularly lobed leaves appear in bunches and have very little stem. They are dark green.

Its bark is grey, and becomes deeply ridge with age. Older specimens often have many hollows within the trunk.

In Spring, catkin flowers are visible. These are followed by cupped seeds in Autumn, well-known as acorns

Possible lookalikes Other species of Oak

Use as a food The acorns have been roasted and ground to make coffee and flour. However, the seed is very high in tannin and the lengthy leaching process required to removes them renders the remaining powder almost tasteless

Use in herbal medicine English Oak has been used to treat internal bleeding, dysentery, diarrhoea, chest infections, sore throats, female genital infections, sweaty feet and haemorrhoids 
If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner

Hazards Gastric distress can be suffered if tannin not correctly removed. Can affect the absorption of medications

Other uses The wood of English Oak is prized for its strength and durability, so it has a long histroy in construction. It is long lasting when under water, and therefore was the choice for making ships with before metal was widely used. 
Clothing dyes, tar, tannin and creosote have all been obtained from the bark.

Galls that form on the leaves and fruit have been used to make inks

Importance to other species English Oak supports thousands of species. 

It is a food source for the larvae of several insect species, including moths and wasps. Its acorns are fed on by mammals and birds. The fast rotting leaf litter provides habitat and food for several beetles and fungi. 

In addition, the hollows in its trunk and branches provide homes for insects, bees, bats, mammals and birds. And, the insects it attracts also feed various other mammals and birds.

Many fungi form mycorrhizal relationships with English Oak, including Fly Agaric and many Boletes. It is also host to parasitic and sabprobic fungi such as Chicken of the Woods and Beefsteak Fungus

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!

Englis Oak - Quercus robur - leaf
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