The English Oak tree is a magnificent tree that has been a part of the UK’s landscape for centuries. It is also known as the pedunculate oak or common oak. This species grows and matures to form a broad and spreading crown with sturdy branches beneath.
History and Symbolism
Renowned in history and legend, oak trees symbolize royalty, patriotism and strength. The contribution of oak trees to landscapes, biodiversity, culture and economy is enormous.
Our fantastic oaks support more life than any other UK native tree. Perhaps their greatest feat is nurturing wildlife. Oak forests support more life forms than any other native forest. They are host to hundreds of insect species, supplying many birds with an important food source. In Britain, oak trees host at least 280 species of insect – more than any other native tree. These feast on the seeds, wood, flowers and foliage, so during their growing season oaks face onslaughts from armies of leaf-chewers, sap-suckers, leaf-miners and galls.
Oaks are generally regarded as having more associated species of wildlife than any other native trees in England. These organisms range from bacteria to fungi, lichens (fungi in symbiosis with algae), free algae, mosses, vascular plants, invertebrate animals, birds and mammals.
Even as a sapling, the oak gets straight to work providing food and homes for wildlife. As it grows and ages, it becomes more valuable, developing cavities, crevices, dead wood and other features that plants and animals love. Once oaks reach 400 years old, they are considered ancient trees.
The English Oak Tree in the UK
The English Oak is the dominant tree in most of Britain, particularly on the richer soils in valley bottoms. It has been planted everywhere in parks, gardens, deer parks and woods. The English Oak is also known as the Pedunculate Oak because its acorns have stalks (known as ‘peduncles’ by botanists).
Uses of the English Oak Tree
The English Oak tree has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes. Here are some examples:
- Furniture: The wood from the English Oak tree is strong and durable making it ideal for furniture making.
- Construction: The wood from the English Oak tree has been used for construction purposes for centuries.
- Wine barrels: The wood from the English Oak tree is used to make wine barrels because it imparts a unique flavour to the wine.
Did you know that the oldest oak tree in the UK is over 1,000 years old? That’s older than most countries!
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