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Quercus macrocarpa - Michx.                
                 
Common Name Burr Oak
Family Fagaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Found in a variety of habitats from dry hillsides to moist bottomlands, rich woods and fertile slopes, mainly on limestone soils[43, 229].
Range Eastern N. America - Nova Scotia to Manitoba, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Georgia, Kansas and Texas.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Quercus macrocarpa is a deciduous Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.

USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Quercus macrocarpa Burr Oak


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jean-Pol_GRANDMONT
Quercus macrocarpa Burr Oak
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jean-Pol_GRANDMONT
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Canopy;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses:

Seed - cooked[101, 105, 161, 257]. Very large, the seed can be up to 5cm x 4cm[82, 200], though it is somewhat variable in size and shape[227]. The seed can be ground into a powder and used in making bread, dumplings etc and as a thickener in soups[183]. The seed of this species is considered to be one of the most palatable of all the oaks[159, 183]. Many trees have sweet seeds with little tannin and the seed can be eaten raw or cooked. If the seed is bitter then this is due to the presence of tannins, these can be leached out by thoroughly washing the dried and ground up seed in water, though many minerals will also be lost. The traditional method of preparing the seed was to bury it in boggy ground overwinter. The germinating seed was dug up in the spring when it would have lost most of its astringency. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute.
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antispasmodic;  Astringent;  Tonic.

The bark is astringent and tonic[61]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea[257]. A decoction of the root or inner bark has been used in the treatment of cramps[257]. Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc[4].
Other Uses
Mordant;  Repellent;  Tannin;  Wood.

A mulch of the leaves repels slugs, grubs etc, though fresh leaves should not be used as these can inhibit plant growth[20]. Oak galls are excrescences that are sometimes produced in great numbers on the tree and are caused by the activity of the larvae of different insects. The insects live inside these galls, obtaining their nutrient therein. When the insect pupates and leaves, the gall can be used as a rich source of tannin, that can also be used as a dyestuff[4]. The bark has been used as a mordant for fixing dyes[257]. Wood - hard, heavy, strong, tough, very durable, close grained. It weighs about 46lb per cubic metre[227]. Of considerable importance as a timber tree, it is used for all types of construction, in making baskets, flooring, cabinet making, ship building etc[46, 61, 82, 149, 171, 227, 229]. It is also a good fuel[82].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a good deep fertile loam which can be on the stiff side[11]. Lime tolerant[188]. Succeeds in a hot dry position. Young plants tolerate reasonable levels of side shade[200]. Tolerates moderate exposure, surviving well but being somewhat stunted[200]. A slow-growing tree[188]. Established plants are drought resistant[229] and tolerant of atmospheric pollution[226]. Trees have a thick, fire-resistant bark[274]. Occasionally cultivated for its edible seed, there are some named varieties[183]. Slow growing in the wild, it takes about 30 years to start producing seed, though it then continues to crop for the next 200 - 300 years with large crops being produced every 2 - 3 years[229]. The tree flowers on new growth produced in spring, the seed ripening in its first year[200, 229]. Prefers warmer summers than are usually experienced in Britain, often growing poorly in this country and failing to properly ripen its wood, resulting in frost damage overwinter[11, 200]. A tree at the Hillier Arboretum in Hampshire was growing well in September 1993. It was 9 metres tall but had a lot of mildew, there was no sign of seeds[K]. There is a dwarf form of this species:- Q. macrocarpa depressa (Nutt.)Engelm. grows about 2 metres tall with corky branches and smaller seeds than the species, usually about 1cm long[227]. Hybridizes freely with other members of the genus[200]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - it quickly loses viability if it is allowed to dry out. It can be stored moist and cool overwinter but is best sown as soon as it is ripe in an outdoor seed bed, though it must be protected from mice, squirrels etc. Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold frame. Plants produce a deep taproot and need to be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible, in fact seed sown in situ will produce the best trees[11]. Trees should not be left in a nursery bed for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved or they will transplant very badly.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Michx.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1143200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[43]Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany.
A bit dated but good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[82]Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader.
[101]Turner. N. J. and Szczawinski. A. Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada.
A very readable guide to some wild foods of Canada.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[149]Vines. R. A. Trees of Central Texas.
Fairly readable, it gives details of habitats and some of the uses of trees growing in Texas.
[159]McPherson. A. and S. Wild Food Plants of Indiana.
A nice pocket guide to this region of America.
[161]Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
[171]Hill. A. F. Economic Botany.
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some a bit of detail about the plants it does cover.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[188]Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Excellent range of photographs, some cultivation details but very little information on plant uses.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[226]Lauriault. J. Identification Guide to the Trees of Canada
Very good on identification for non-experts, the book also has a lot of information on plant uses.
[227]Vines. R.A. Trees of North Texas
A readable guide to the area, it contains descriptions of the plants and their habitats with quite a bit of information on plant uses.
[229]Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History.
A very good concise guide. Gives habitats, good descriptions, maps showing distribution and a few of the uses. It also includes the many shrubs that occasionally reach tree proportions.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
[274]Diggs, Jnr. G.M.; Lipscomb. B. L. & O'Kennon. R. J Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas
An excellent flora, which is also available on-line.

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Subject : Quercus macrocarpa  
             

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