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There are two native species of oak tree in the UK as well as some other introduced ones. You may find some of the latter in our parks and grand estates.

COMMON OAK : Quercus robur

Also (cheekily) called the English Oak.

It can be found growing widely across the UK. The Woodland Trust enthuses over them. The contribution of oak trees to landscapes, biodiversity, culture and economy is enormous. Renowned in history and legend, oak trees symbolise royalty, patriotism and strength. But perhaps their greatest feat is nurturing wildlife. They are a haven for a colossal 2,300 wildlife species, providing vital spaces to eat, shelter and breed. And enphasises their value to wildlife.

2,300 species are supported by oak

326 species depend on oak for survival

229 species rarely found on trees other than oak

Oak is a valued timber for construction and joinery. While found widely here, they no longer appear in sufficient quantity to use sustainably. They are afterall very slow growing - the very charateristc that ensures their quality. For this reason oak for such use is imported from sustainable sources such as France where they are grown.

The Trees For Life website tells us of their significance in folklore and traditions. 

Throughout the major cultures of Europe people have held the oak tree in high esteem. To the Greeks, Romans, Celts, Slavs and Teutonic tribes the oak was foremost amongst venerated trees. In each case associated with the supreme god in their pantheon, oak being sacred to Zeus, Jupiter, Dagda, Perun and Thor, respectively. Each of these gods also had dominion over rain, thunder and lightning. It is no coincidence that oak trees are more prone to lightning strikes than many other trees. This is because of the tree’s high water content and the fact that they are frequently the tallest living things in the landscape.

The Druids frequently worshipped and practised their rites in oak groves. The word Druid may derive from a Celtic word meaning “knower of the oak tree”. The Gaelic word for oak is darach and remains in place names such as Glac Daraich (oak hollow/small valley) in Glen Affric.

Mistletoe, probably the Druids’ most potent and magical plant, frequently grew on oak trees. Its presence was believed to indicate the hand of God having placed it there in a lightning strike. See the link below for more on this.

Acorns appear around about September / October.

The first bites of winter cold bring on changes in hue.

SESSILE OAK : quercus petraea

Sessile oak is a tall tree that can mainly be found in semi-natural woodlands, especially in the north and west of the UK. It is so-named because its acorns are not held on stalks like those of the English (Pedunculate) oak, but are attached directly to the outer twigs. It can form quite dense, single-species woodlands when left to grow, but is not as ubiquitous as the English oak in the rest of the countryside. sessile oak timber is not as popular as that of English oak, but is used for barrel- and cask-making – it gives wine and spirits a particular flavour.

BRITISH HARDWOODS : https://www.britishhardwoods.co.uk/planed-all-round-european-oak-timber.html

COUNTRYFILE : https://www.countryfile.com/wildlife/trees-plants/oak-tree-guide-lifespan-uk-species-identification

TREES FOR LIFE website : https://treesforlife.org.uk/into-the-forest/trees-plants-animals/trees/oak/oak-mythology-and-folklore/

WOODLAND TRUST : https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/oak-tree-wildlife/

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