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Pendunculate Oak (quercus robur)


Quercus robur, the Pendunculate Oak
Pendunculate Oak, click to enlarge.

Quercus robur is so well known around the world that it is known by many common names. Some of these are the Common Oak, German Oak and the English Oak.

Pendunculate  Oak (quercus robur)
Quercus robur is native to many countries in Europe, eastern Russia, parts of Asia and north Africa. It grows to a maximum height of over 30m (100 ft) and some examples are known to be over 800 years old.

The leaf of quercus robur

The leaves are a dull green on the top, slightly brighter on the underside. They have four or five rounded lobes roughly equal on either side.
The are 10cm (4in long) when mature. The leaves have almost no stems (termed sessile) and they gather in clusters along the branches. They appear in May and are shed in October.
Oak leaves are an important source of food for wild life both on and off the tree.

Branch structure of quercus robur

The traditional shape of quercus robur (see the top of this page) is only achieved where the tree has no competitors. In the normal habitat where there is competition the shape of three is significantly narrower as shown on the right.

More normal shape of a mature quercus robur

The bark and trunk of quercus robur

The bark of the tree is coloured grey with deep grooves in it. The trunk can grow to a massive size, a girth of 10 metres (33ft) being quite possible in older trees.
Oak wood is highly valued for making furniture. In past time the wood was used for building ships and houses.
The bark is high in tannin and was used in the production of leather. Extracts from the bark was used colouring fabrics and galls on the barks were used for their dye in the production of ink.

In ancient times the Druids believed the oak tree was sacred. They harvested the mistletoe which grew in the higher branches and used them in their religious ceremonies.