Species list


Quercus petraea

Sessile oak

Sessile oak, Cornish oak, Durmast oak (Eng), roble albar, roble (Spa), roure de fulla gran (Cat), haritz kandugabea (Baq), carballo albariño, carballo negro (Glg), carvalho (Por).


“I have made many observations lately upon the structure of the vessel […] It will appear perhaps an observation somewhat over-curious, but this wood would have every, characteristic of Spanish oak, if Spanish oak were distended by any unnatural means.”

‘Manuscript found in a bottle’, Edgar Allan Poe


A robust tree that can be up to 35 m tall and which looks very similar to the English oak (Quercus robur L.), with which it shares many characteristics. The leaves are simple, deciduous, and alternate. They have rounded lobes, with a wedge-shaped base, are generally hairless on both faces, and have an obvious stalk that can be 2.5 cm long. The yellow flowers bloom in the spring grouped onto hanging twigs (catkins). The acorns are elongated and appear to sit on the twigs because they have a very short stalk. Flora Iberica differentiates two general types:

Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl. subsp. huguetiana Franco & G. López. The leaves are larger, (7)10-21 cm long and (4)8-15 cm wide, and have 7-9(12) pairs of secondary veins.

Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl. subsp. petraea. The leaves are smaller, 5-13(15) cm long and 2-7(9) cm wide, and have 5-7(8) pairs of secondary veins.


This is an upland tree that forms pure forests or mixes with pines, firs, beeches or other oaks. It can live in drier soils than Quercus robur and may be found growing in rocky areas and quarries. Its optimal altitude is between 300 and 1500 m, and it is more abundant where the soils are acidic or lime-free.


It lives in Europe and western Asia, and on the Iberian Peninsula it ranges across the north, reaching the mountainous area in the centre of the peninsula and the Cuenca and Guadalajara ranges.