Oak, English

£10.00 ex.VAT

Quercus robur

Family: Fagaceae

Origin: native

A large, deciduous tree growing up to 20–40m tall.

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Quercus robur

A large, deciduous tree growing up to 20–40m tall. Also known as common oak, this species grows and matures to form a broad and spreading crown with sturdy branches beneath.  English oaks can grow to very old ages, living well over 500 years.

Long, yellow hanging catkins distribute pollen into the air and as they ripen green acorns develop then turns brown and loosen from the cupule and falls to the canopy below, sprouting the following spring.

Oak forests support more life forms than any other native forest hosting hundreds of insect species and birds. In autumn, mammals such as squirrels, badgers and deer feed on acorns. Flower and leaf buds of English oak are the food plants of the caterpillars of purple hairstreak butterflies.

The soft leaves of English oaks break down with ease in autumn and form a rich leaf mould beneath the tree, supporting invertebrates such as the stag beetle, and fungi, like the oakbug milkcap. Holes and crevices in the tree bark are perfect nesting spots for the pied flycatcher, redstart or marsh tit. Bats also roost in old woodpecker holes or under loose bark, as well as feeding on the rich supply of insects in the tree canopy.

In England, the oak is a national symbol of strength.

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