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Quercus robur - L.                
                 
Common Name Pedunculate Oak, English oak
Family Fagaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards Possible digestive complaints. May delay absorption of alkaloids and other alkaline drugs [301].
Habitats Often the dominant woodland tree, especially on clay soils and in the eastern half of Britain, but avoiding acid peat and shallow limestone soils[17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, the Urals and Crimea.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Quercus robur is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 30 m (98ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Sep to 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.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
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 moist or wet soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Synonyms
Quercus longaeva. Quercus pedunculata.
Quercus robur Pedunculate Oak, English oak


Quercus robur Pedunculate Oak, English oak
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Canopy; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses: Coffee;  Gum.

Seed - cooked[2, 5, 8, 13]. Nourishing but indigestible[4]. Chopped and roasted, the seed is used as an almond substitute[8]. It can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickening in stews etc or mixed with cereals for making bread[183]. The seed contains bitter tannins, these can be leached out by thoroughly washing the seed in running water though many minerals will also be lost[63]. Either the whole seed can be used or the seed can be dried and ground it into a powder. It can take several days or even weeks to properly leach whole seeds, one method was to wrap them in a cloth bag and place them in a stream. Leaching the powder is quicker. A simple taste test can tell when the tannin has been leached. 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[21, 61]. An edible gum is obtained from the bark[177]. Another report says that an edible manna is obtained from the plant and that it is used instead of butter in cooking[183]. This report probably refers to the gum[K].
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.

Antiseptic;  Astringent;  Bach;  Decongestant;  Haemostatic;  Tonic.

The oak tree has a long history of medicinal use. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, decongestant, haemostatic and tonic[4, 7, 9, 13, 21, 165]. The bark is the part of the plant that is most commonly used[4], though other parts such as the galls, seeds and seed cups are also sometimes used[7]. A decoction of the bark is useful in the treatment of chronic diarrhoea, dysentery, intermittent fevers, haemorrhages etc[4]. Externally, it is used to bathe wounds, skin eruptions, sweaty feet, piles etc[9]. It is also used as a vaginal douche for genital inflammations and discharge, and also as a wash for throat and mouth infections[9]. The bark is harvested from branches 5 - 12 years old, and is dried for later use[9]. Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc[4]. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are 'Despondency', 'Despair, but never ceasing effort'[209]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the bark. It is used in the treatment of disorders of the spleen and gall bladder[9]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Quercus robur Pedunculate Oak for coughs/bronchitis, diarrhoea, inflammation of mouth and pharynx, inflammation of the skin (see [302] for critics of commission E).
Other Uses
Basketry;  Charcoal;  Compost;  Fuel;  Gum;  Ink;  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, 201]. The bark is an ingredient of 'Quick Return' herbal compost activator[32]. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost[K]. The bark is very rich in calcium[18]. 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]. A black dye and an excellent long-lasting ink is made from the oak galls, mixed with salts of iron[4, 7, 66]. The colour is not very durable[4]. When mixed with alum, the dye is brown and with salts of tin it is yellow[4]. Trees can be coppiced to provide material for basket making, fuel, construction etc[23]. The wood is a source of tar, quaiacol, acetic acid, creosote and tannin[123]. Tannin is extracted commercially from the bark and is also found in the leaves[223]. On a 10% moisture basis, the bark contains11.6% tannin and the wood 9.2%[223]. The bark strips easily from the wood in April and May[4]. A purplish dye is obtained from an infusion of the bark with a small quantity of copperas[4]. It is not bright, but is said to be durable[4]. Wood - hard, tough, durable even under water - highly valued for furniture, construction etc[4, 13, 61, 66]. It is also a good fuel[6] and charcoal[61].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a good deep fertile loam which can be on the stiff side[11]. Young plants tolerate reasonable levels of side shade[200]. Succeeds in heavy clay soils[13] and in wet soils so long as the ground is not water-logged for long periods[186]. Dislikes dry or shallow soils but is otherwise drought tolerant once it is established[186]. Tolerant of exposed sites though it dislikes salt-laden winds[186]. The oak is a very important timber tree in Britain, it is also a very important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterfly[30], there are 284 insect species associated with this tree[24]. It has often been coppiced or pollarded for its wood in the past[23], though this should not be done too frequently[186], about once every 50 years is the average. The tree flowers on new growth produced in spring, the seed ripening in its first year[200, 229]. Older trees have a thick corky bark and this can protect them from forest fires, young trees will often regenerate from the base if cut down or killed back by a fire[186]. Intolerant of root disturbance, trees should be planted in their permanent positions whilst young[11]. Hybridizes freely with other members of the genus[200]. Immune to attacks by the tortix moth[1]. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus[88, 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.
Related Plants                                         
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Quercus acutaJapanese Evergreen Oak22
Quercus acutissimaSawthorn Oak22
Quercus agrifoliaEncina, California live oak, Coast Live Oak32
Quercus albaWhite Oak, Hybrid oak32
Quercus alienaOriental White Oak22
Quercus aucheriBoz-Pirnal Oak42
Quercus bicolorSwamp White Oak42
Quercus cerrisTurkey Oak, European turkey oak32
Quercus chrysolepisLive Oak, Canyon live oak22
Quercus cocciferaKermes Oak32
Quercus coccineaScarlet Oak22
Quercus dentataJapanese Emperor Oak, Daimyo oak22
Quercus douglasiiBlue Oak32
Quercus durataCalifornia Scrub Oak, Leather oak22
Quercus ellipsoidalisNorthern Pin Oak22
Quercus emoryiBlack Oak, Emory oak32
Quercus engelmanniiEvergreen Oak, Engelmann oak, Mesa Oak22
Quercus falcataSouthern Red Oak, Cherrybark Oak, Spanish Oak, Southern Red Oak12
Quercus floribunda 22
Quercus frainettoHungarian Oak, Italian Oak, Forest Green Oak42
Quercus fruticosa 32
Quercus gambeliiShin Oak, Gambel oak, Rocky Mountain White Oak32
Quercus garryanaOregon White Oak, Garry Oak22
Quercus glaucaRing-cup oak , Ring Cupped Oak, Blue Japanese Oak32
Quercus hispanica 32
Quercus ilexHolly Oak, Evergreen Oak52
Quercus ilex ballotaHolm Oak52
Quercus imbricariaShingle Oak, Northern Laurel Oak22
Quercus infectoriaAleppo Oak, Oak22
Quercus ithaburensis macrolepisValonia Oak42
123
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
1117200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Lukasz Luczaj Tue Oct 23 21:24:12 2001
I found a simple way of removing bitter taste from acorns: cut acorns into a few mm cubes and cook them for ca. 1 hour with a few spoonfuls of deciduous tree ash. Then rinse carefully. It works!
Elizabeth H.
James Corcoran Tue Jan 5 2010
hi just a qwick question what soil nutrients does a common oak need? as i am doing a college assiment and can not find the infomation anyware. if you know can you please email me at maujamesc@hotmail.com
John S.
Mar 5 2013 12:00AM
Oak leaves are used in brewing and pickling. Two oak leaf wine recipes can be found here: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/oakleaf.asp And here is an example of a Lithuanian pickle recipe, apparently the oak leaves are included to improve firmness: coarse salt garlic wild horseradish leaf dill oak leaves cherry leaves or blackcurrant leaves peppercorns
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Subject : Quercus robur  
             
                                        
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
   
 

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