Species list

Back

Quercus robur

English oak

English oak, pedunculate oak, French oak (Eng), roble, roble albar, carballo (Spa), roure pènol (Cat), aritza (Baq), carballo (Glg), carvalho-comum (Por).

Native

“The oak tree is war, the oak / speaks of valour and courage, / motionless rage / in its twisted branches; / and it is more rugged / than the holm oak, more sinewy, / more haughty and more noble”.

‘Las encinas’, Antonio Machado

DESCRIPTION

A large deciduous tree that can be up to 40 m tall, with a straight trunk and wide, regular crown. The leaves measure 5-18 cm long by 2-10 cm wide, are spatulate or oblong, usually widening towards the upper third. The base of the leaves has small appendages. The margin is lobed and the leaf stalk is very small, only 2-7 mm long, shorter than that of the sessile oak, Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl., a species that can be easily confused with this one. The flowers develop between April and June; the male blooms are borne in long hanging stems (catkins). One common name for this tree is 'pedunculate oak', in reference to the long stalk of the acorns (not the leaves), which in the other species mentioned in this guide are very small.

ECOLOGY

This species prefers cool, well developed, acidic soils, although it can withstand compact substrates with temporary flooding, unlike the sessile oak (Quercus petraea). It lives in temperate climates that have no prolonged summer droughts and requires quite a well lit spot, especially in the early stages of growth. In many places its range overlaps with that of the beech, with which it competes. It naturally forms extensive forests, from sea level up to altitudes of 1500 m.

DISTRIBUTION

This tree occurs throughout Europe and the Caucasian region. It is distributed across the northern half and northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, reaching as far as Salamanca and Cáceres. Additionally, this species is widely used in gardening and is often confused with Quercus petraea and Q. canariensis.