Pyrenean oak (Eng), roble melojo, melojo, rebollo (Spa), roure reboll (Cat), ametza (Baq), carballo negro (Glg), carvalho-negral (Por).
DID YOU KNOW...? Paradoxically this oak is very scarce in the Pyrenees.
A large tree, which can be up to 25 m tall, although due to centuries of exploitation, we often see this plant resprouting and forming tangled stands. Its main characteristic is its leaves, which are velvety on both sides and have very deep lobes. The leaves are simple, alternate and deciduous, although in many specimens, especially young trees, the dry leaves stay on over winter and fall off when the new leaf shoot pushes them off (i.e., they are marcescent). The yellowish flowers grow on long hanging stems (catkins) and the acorns are globose and bitter.
This oak is very well adapted to the Mediterranean climate thanks to the hairiness of its leaves, which reduces water loss through transpiration. It can form extensive forests, although it is sometimes associated with other species, always on acidic or lime-free substrates, between altitudes of 200 m and 2100 m. The root system is so powerful that it grows new trunks from the stump. Because it has been exploited for its wood, and for charcoal making, we often find several specimens that actually come from a single individual whose stump can be many hundreds of years old.
This tree ranges across southwestern Europe (Spain and France) and northern Africa (Morocco). In the Pyrenees is only found in the Sierra de Leyre, Navarra.