The Oak, is certainly a feature very unique to the english countryside, the green acorns feature on many a logo. In many areas of the UK it towers over cattle on lush green pasture or even meadow. The distinctive lobed green leaves are also and icon for woodland and the countryside. Sadly, the genus Quercus (oaks), are at risk today in the UK, due to the introduction of non-native species.
The English Oak, also known as Quercus robur, has been held sacred by almost every culture that has encountered the tree. The celts in particular seemed to admire this tree, probably because of it’s good timber, longevity and great size. As one can infer from the image above, the Oak, unlike some other native tree species, does best in open ground rather than woodland, although they are still common in woods.
As I mentioned earlier, our oaks are under threat, numerous non-native species have, in some way or another, been imported to the UK by artificial means. Some of these species pose real danger to trees and oaks in particular are targeted by the Processionary moth. The adult moths lay their eggs on the leaves of an oak tree, once the eggs hatch, the caterpillars eat the leaves on the oak. Sometimes, this can even defoliate a whole tree, which, especially for younger trees, is a major problem.
I am writing this blog post now because it’s currently the time of year when acorns are on the ground. Just a walk down a country lane and there are vast amounts of acorns everywhere. Despite their nice appearance, the acorns are actually quite bad for livestock, but because there are so many oak trees in fields, most animals will just avoid the acorns.
One thought on “The English Oak”
Oaks are truly magnificent trees of which we have many here in Surrey. Sadly those in front gardens often have their trunks de-branched which raises the canopy and completely spoils the natural shape of the tree. I think they are supposed to support the greatest variety of insect life and therefore a brilliant source of food for birds. The acorns are a great favourite with pigs.