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An oak is a
tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only wood plants with se ...

tree
or
shrub A shrub (often called a bush) is a small- to medium-sized perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the p ...

shrub
in the
genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure ...
''Quercus'' (;
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant la ...

Latin
"oak tree") of the
beech Beech (''Fagus'') is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, v ...

beech
family,
Fagaceae Fagaceae is a family of flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land plants, with 64 Order(biology), orders, 416 Family (biology), families, approximat ...
. There are approximately 500 extant species of oaks. The common name "oak" also appears in the names of species in related genera, notably ''
Lithocarpus ''Lithocarpus'' is a genus in the beech family, Fagaceae. Trees in this genus are commonly known as the stone oaks and differ from ''Oak, Quercus'' primarily because they produce insect-pollinated flowers on erect spikes and the female flowers ...
'' (stone oaks), as well as in those of unrelated species such as ''
Grevillea robusta Leaves and flowers ''Grevillea robusta'', commonly known as the southern silky oak, silk oak or silky oak, silver oak or Australian silver oak, is a flowering plant in the family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group o ...

Grevillea robusta
'' (silky oaks) and the
Casuarinaceae The Casuarinaceae are a family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain ...

Casuarinaceae
(she-oaks). The genus ''Quercus'' is native to the Northern Hemisphere, and includes
deciduous In the fields of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists are agriculturists who grow flowers, fruits and nuts, v ...
and
evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Anci ...

evergreen
species extending from cool temperate to
tropical The tropics are the region of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at S; these latitudes correspond to ...

tropical
latitudes in the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to East and West. ''North'' ...

Americas
, Asia, Europe, and North Africa. North America has the largest number of oak species, with approximately 160 species in Mexico of which 109 are endemic and about 90 in the United States. The second greatest area of oak diversity is China, with approximately 100 species. Oaks have
spiral In , a spiral is a which emanates from a point, moving farther away as it revolves around the point. Helices Two major definitions of "spiral" in the are:
spiral
ly arranged leaves, with lobate margins in many species; some have
serrated leaves A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. The leaves and stem together form the shoot. Leaves are collectively referred ...
or entire leaves with smooth margins. Many deciduous species are
marcescent Image:oakmer.JPG, Oak with marcescent foliage Marcescence is the retention of dead plant organs that normally are shed. Trees transfer water and sap from the roots to the leaves through their vascular cells, but in some trees as autumn begins, the ...
, not dropping dead leaves until spring. In spring, a single oak tree produces both male flowers (in the form of
catkin A catkin or ament is a slim, cylindrical flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproduction, reproductive structure found in flowering plants (plants of the division Magnoliophyta, also called angiosperms). The biologica ...

catkin
s) and small female flowers, meaning that the trees are
monoecious Monoecy (; adjective form: monoecious ) is a sexual system in seed plants The spermatophytes (; ), also known as phanerogams (taxon Phanerogamae) or phaenogams (taxon Phaenogamae), comprise those plant Plants are predominantly photosynthet ...

monoecious
. The fruit is a
nut Nut often refers to: * Nut (fruit), a fruit composed of a hard shell and a seed * Nut (food), collective noun for dry and edible fruits or seeds * Nut (hardware), a fastener used with a bolt Nut or Nuts may also refer to: Places * Nomenclature of ...
called an
acorn The acorn, or oaknut, is the nut Nut often refers to: * Nut (fruit), a fruit composed of a hard shell and a seed * Nut (food), collective noun for dry and edible fruits or seeds * Nut (hardware), a fastener used with a bolt Nut or Nuts may al ...

acorn
or oak nut borne in a cup-like structure known as a cupule; each acorn contains one seed (rarely two or three) and takes 6–18 months to mature, depending on their species. The acorns and leaves contain
tannic acid Tannic acid is a specific form of tannin, a type of polyphenol. Its weak acidity (Acid dissociation constant, pKa around 6) is due to the numerous phenol groups in the structure. The chemical formula for commercial tannic acid is often given as ...

tannic acid
, which helps to guard from fungi and insects. The
live oak Live oak or evergreen oak is any of a number of oaks in several different sections of the genus ''Quercus'' that share the characteristic of evergreen foliage. These oaks are not more closely related to each other than they are to other oaks. ...
s are distinguished for being evergreen, but are not actually a distinct group and instead are dispersed across the genus.


Classification

The most recent classification of ''Quercus'' divides the genus into two
subgenera In , a subgenus (plural: subgenera) is a directly below . In the , a subgeneric name can be used independently or included in a , in parentheses, placed between the name and the : e.g. the of the Indo-Pacific, ''Cypraea'' (''Cypraea'') ''tigri ...
and eight sections. These divisions support the evolutionary diversification of oaks among two distinct clades: the "
Old World The Old World consists of Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of 's total su ...
" clade, including oaks that diversified mainly in Eurasia; and the "
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The rem ...
" clade, for oaks that diversified mainly in the Americas.


Subgenus ''Quercus''

* Sect. ''Quercus'' (synonyms ''Lepidobalanus'' and ''Leucobalanus''), the white oaks of
Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both and , and is bordered by the to the ...

Europe
,
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
and
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
.
Styles Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating something * Fashion, a prevailing mode of clothing s ...
are short; the acorns mature in six months and taste sweet or slightly bitter; the inside of an acorn shell is hairless. The leaves mostly lack a bristle on their lobe tips, which are usually rounded. The
type species In zoological nomenclature The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is a widely accepted Convention (norm), convention in zoology that rules the formal scientific name, scientific naming of organisms treated as animals. It is al ...
is ''
Quercus robur ''Quercus robur'', commonly known as common oak, pedunculate oak, European oak or English oak, is a species of flowering plant in the beech and oak family, Fagaceae. It is native plant, native to most of Europe west of the Caucasus. The tree is w ...

Quercus robur
''. * Sect. ''Protobalanus'', the canyon live oak and its relatives, in the southwestern
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
and northwest
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern portion of North America. It is borders of Mexico, bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to ...

Mexico
. Styles are short; the acorns mature in 18 months and taste very bitter. The inside of the acorn shell appears woolly. The leaves typically have sharp lobe tips, with bristles at the lobe tip. * Sect. ''Ponticae,'' a disjunct including just two species. Styles are short and the acorns mature in 12 months. The leaves have large stipules, high secondary venation, and are highly toothed. * Sect. ''Virentes,'' the southern live oaks of the Americas. Styles are short and the acorns mature in 12 months. The leaves are evergreen or subevergreen. * Sect. ''Lobatae'' (synonym ''Erythrobalanus''), the red oaks of North America,
Central America Central America ( es, América Central, , ''Centroamérica'' ) is a region of the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or ...

Central America
and northern
South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continent ...

South America
. Styles are long; the acorns mature in 18 months and taste very bitter. The inside of the acorn shell appears woolly. The actual nut is encased in a thin, clinging, papery skin. The leaves typically have sharp lobe tips, with spiny bristles at the lobe.


Subgenus ''Cerris''

* Sect. ''Cyclobalanopsis,'' the ring-cupped oaks of eastern and southeastern
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
. These are evergreen trees growing tall. They are distinct from subgenus ''Quercus'' in that they have acorns with distinctive cups bearing concrescent rings of scales; they commonly also have densely clustered acorns, though this does not apply to all of the species. Species of ''Cyclobalanopsis'' are common in the evergreen subtropical
laurel forest Laurel forest, also called laurisilva or laurissilva, is a type of subtropical The subtropical zones or subtropics are geographical and climate zones located to the north and south of the Torrid Zone ''Torrid Zone'' is a 1940 adventure fil ...

laurel forest
s which extend from southern Japan, southern Korea, and Taiwan across southern China and northern Indochina to the eastern Himalayas, in association with trees of the genus ''
Castanopsis ''Castanopsis'', commonly called chinquapin or chinkapin, is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus ...
'' and the laurel family (
Lauraceae The flowering plant Family (biology), family Lauraceae, the laurels, includes the bay laurel, true laurel and its closest relatives. This family comprises about 2850 known species in about 45 genus (biology), genera worldwide (Christenhusz & Byn ...
). * Sect. ''Cerris'', the Turkey oak and its relatives of Europe and Asia. Styles are long; acorns mature in 18 months and taste very bitter. The inside of the acorn's shell is hairless. Its leaves typically have sharp lobe tips, with bristles at the lobe tip. * Sect. ''Ilex,'' the Ilex oak and its relatives of Eurasia and northern
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
. Styles are medium-long; acorns mature in 12–24 months, appearing hairy on the inside. The leaves are evergreen, with bristle-like extensions on the teeth.


Phylogenetics

The advent of molecular techniques for phylogenetic analysis transformed understanding of oak relationships, initially by uncovering molecular support for the diphyletic division of ''Quercus'' into Old World and New World clades. These techniques have proved highly useful in resolving fine-scale relationships among 2–5 oak species, particularly groups known to hybridize, but until recently the larger emphasis on this narrow approach prevented systematists from making large-scale determinations about oak history. As the capacity for sampling across wider swaths of oak species rose, so has resolution at the section and species level across the oak tree. Further advances in oak systematics are expected to arise from
next-generation sequencingMassive parallel sequencing or massively parallel sequencing is any of several high-throughput approaches to DNA sequencing DNA sequencing is the process of determining the nucleic acid sequence – the order of nucleotides in DNA. It includes a ...
techniques, including a recent project to sequence the entire genome of ''Quercus robur'' (the pedunculate oak). The recent completion of that genome has uncovered an array of mutations that may underlie the evolution of longevity and disease resistance in oaks. In addition, the generation of
RAD-seq Restriction site associated DNA (RAD) markers are a type of genetic marker A genetic marker is a gene In biology, a gene (from ''genos'' "...Wilhelm Johannsen coined the word gene to describe the Mendelian_inheritance#History, Mendelian un ...
loci for hundreds of oak species has allowed for the construction of the most highly detailed oak phylogeny to date, although the high signal of introgression across the tree poses difficulties for deriving an unambiguous, unitary history of oaks.


Historical note on Linnaean species

Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his Nobility#Ennoblement, ennoblement as Carl von Linné#Blunt, Blunt (2004), p. 171. (), was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who formalised binomi ...

Linnaeus
described only five species of oak from eastern North America, based on general leaf form. These were
white oak The genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and cl ...

white oak
, ''Quercus alba'';
chestnut oak ''Quercus montana'', the chestnut oak, is a species of oak in the white oak group, ''Quercus'' sect. ''Quercus''. It is native to the eastern United States, where it is one of the most important ridgetop trees from southern Maine Maine ( ...
, ''Q. montana'';
red oak The genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific class ...
, ''Q. rubra''; willow oak ''Q. phellos''; and
water oak ''Quercus nigra'', the water oak, is an oak in the red oak group (''Quercus'' sect. ''Lobatae''), native to the eastern and south-central United States, found in all the coastal states from New Jersey to Texas, and inland as far as Oklahoma, Kentu ...
, ''Q. nigra''. Because he was dealing with confusing leaf forms, the ''Q. montana'' and ''Q. rubra'' specimens actually included mixed foliage of more than one species.


Evolution

Records of ''Quercus'' have been reported from
Late Cretaceous The Late Cretaceous (100.5–66 Ma) is the younger of two epochs into which the Cretaceous The Cretaceous ( ) is a that lasted from about 145 to 66 (Mya). It is the third and final period of the , as well as the longest. At around 79 millio ...
deposits in North America and East Asia, however these are not considered definitive. In a survey of the fossil record of ''Quercus'' it was concluded that "pre-
Paleogene The Paleogene ( ; also spelled Palaeogene or Palæogene; informally Lower Tertiary or Early Tertiary) is a geologic period and system that spans 43 million years from the end of the Cretaceous The Cretaceous ( ) is a geological period A geologi ...
, and perhaps pre-
Eocene The Eocene ( ) Epoch is a geological epoch In chronology 222px, Joseph Scaliger's ''De emendatione temporum'' (1583) began the modern science of chronology Chronology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the ...
occurrences of ''Quercus'' macroremains are generally represented by poorly preserved fossils that lack critical features needed for certain identification and need to be treated with caution." The oldest unequivocal records of ''Quercus'' are pollen from Austria, dating to the
Paleocene The Paleocene, ( ) or Palaeocene, is a geological epoch In chronology 222px, Joseph Scaliger's ''De emendatione temporum'' (1583) began the modern science of chronology Chronology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language bel ...
-Eocene boundary, around 55 million years ago. The oldest records of ''Quercus'' in North America are from Oregon, dating to the Middle Eocene, around 44 million years ago, with the oldest records in Asia being from the Middle of Eocene of Japan; both forms have affinites to the '' Cyclobalanopsis'' group.


Hybridization

Interspecific hybridization In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanism ...
is quite common among oaks, but usually between species within the same section only, and most common in the white oak group. White oaks are unable to discriminate against pollination by other species in the same section. Because they are wind pollinated and they have weak internal barriers to hybridization, hybridization produces functional seeds and fertile hybrid offspring. Ecological stresses, especially near habitat margins, can also cause a breakdown of mate recognition as well as a reduction of male function (pollen quantity and quality) in one parent species. Frequent hybridization among oaks has consequences for oak populations around the world; most notably, hybridization has produced large populations of hybrids with copious amounts of
introgression Introgression, also known as introgressive hybridization, in genetics Genetics is a branch of biology concerned with the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.Hartl D, Jones E (2005) Though heredity had been observed fo ...
, and the
evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolution
of new species. Frequent hybridization and high levels of introgression have caused different species in the same populations to share up to 50% of their genetic information. Having high rates of hybridization and introgression produces genetic data that often does not differentiate between two clearly morphologically distinct species, but instead differentiates populations. Research suggests that the maintenance of particular loci for adaptation to ecological niches might explain the retention of species identity despite significant gene flow. The
Fagaceae Fagaceae is a family of flowering plant The flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae (), or Magnoliophyta (), are the most diverse group of Embryophyte, land plants, with 64 Order(biology), orders, 416 Family (biology), families, approximat ...
, or beech family, to which the oaks belong, is a very slow evolving
clade A clade (), also known as a monophyletic group or natural group, is a group of organisms that are monophyly, monophyletic – that is, composed of a common ancestor and all its lineage (evolution), lineal descendants - on a phylogenetic tree. R ...

clade
compared to other
angiosperm Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ...

angiosperm
s, and the patterns of hybridization and introgression in ''Quercus'' pose a great challenge to the concept of a species since a species is often defined as a group of "actually or potentially interbreeding populations which are reproductively isolated from other such groups." By this definition, many species of ''Quercus'' would be lumped together according to their geographic and ecological habitat, despite clear distinctions in morphology and, to a large extent, genetic data.


Uses

Oak
wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. ...

wood
has a density of about creating great strength and hardness. The wood is very resistant to insect and fungal attack because of its high
tannin Tannins (or tannoids) are a class of , ic s that bind to and s and various other organic compounds including s and s. The term ''tannin'' (from ''tanner'', from ''tannāre'', from ''tannum'', ) refers to the use of oak and other bark ...
content. It also has very appealing grain markings, particularly when . Oak planking was common on high status
Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Pro ...

Viking
longship Longships were a type of specialised Scandinavian warships that have a long history in Scandinavia, with their existence being archaeologically proven and documented from at least the fourth century BC. Originally invented and used by the Norsem ...
s in the 9th and 10th centuries. The wood was hewn from green logs, by axe and wedge, to produce radial planks, similar to quarter-sawn timber. Wide, quarter-sawn boards of oak have been prized since the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
for use in interior panelling of prestigious buildings such as the debating chamber of the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...
in
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
and in the construction of fine furniture. Oak wood, from ''
Quercus robur ''Quercus robur'', commonly known as common oak, pedunculate oak, European oak or English oak, is a species of flowering plant in the beech and oak family, Fagaceae. It is native plant, native to most of Europe west of the Caucasus. The tree is w ...

Quercus robur
'' and ''
Quercus petraea ''Quercus petraea'', commonly known as the sessile oak, Cornish oak, Irish Oak or durmast oak, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well ...

Quercus petraea
'', was used in Europe for the construction of
ship A ship is a large watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional propertie ...

ship
s, especially naval men of war, until the 19th century, and was the principal timber used in the construction of European
timber-framed Timber framing and "post-and-beam" construction are traditional methods of building with heavy timbers, creating structures using squared-off and carefully fitted and Woodworking joints, joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs. ...
buildings. Today oak wood is still commonly used for
furniture Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, stools, and sofas), eating (table (furniture), tables), and sleeping (e.g., beds). Furniture is also used to hold objects at a con ...

furniture
making and flooring, timber-frame buildings, and veneer production. Japanese oak is used for professional drums made by Yamaha Drums. The higher density of oak gives the drum a brighter and louder tone compared to traditional materials such as
maple ''Acer'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscr ...

maple
and
birch A birch is a thin-leaved deciduous hardwood tree of the genus ''Betula'' (), in the family Betulaceae, which also includes alders, hazels, and hornbeams. It is closely related to the beech-oak family Fagaceae. The genus ''Betula'' contains 30 ...

birch
. In hill states of India, besides fuelwood and timber, the locals use oak wood for agricultural implements. The leaves are used as fodder for livestock during lean periods. Of the North American red oaks, the
northern red oak ''Quercus rubra'', the northern red oak, is an oak tree in the red oak group (''Quercus'' section ''Lobatae''). It is a native of North America, in the eastern and central United States and southeast and south-central Canada. It grows from the n ...
is one of the most prized for lumber, and is marketed as red oak regardless of species. This wood has open capillaries, and air blown through an end grain piece 10 inches long can send bubbles out the other end into a glass of water. The openings give fungus easy access when the finish deteriorates, and natural red oak rots easily outdoors. However, if the wood is treated with a preservative compound, the capillaries absorb it deeply, and treated red oak will resist rot better than cured white oak heartwood, which has a closed cell structure.
Shumard oak ''Quercus shumardii'', the Shumard oak, spotted oak, Schneck oak, Shumard red oak, or swamp red oak, is one of the largest of the oak species in the red oak group (''Quercus'' section ''Lobatae''). It is closely related to '' Quercus buckleyi'' ( ...
, a member of the red oak subgenus, provides timber described as "mechanically superior" to northern red oak. Cherrybark oak is another type of red oak that provides excellent timber. The standard lumber tree of the white oak group – all marketed as white oak – is ''
Quercus alba ''Quercus alba'', the white oak, is one of the preeminent hardwoods of eastern and central North America. It is a long-lived oak, native to eastern and central North America and found from Minnesota Minnesota () is a U.S. state, state in t ...

Quercus alba
''. White oak is often used to make
wine barrel Oak is used in winemaking Winemaking or vinification is the production of wine, starting with the selection of the fruit, its Ethanol fermentation, fermentation into alcohol, and the bottling of the finished liquid. The history of wine-making stre ...

wine barrel
s. The wood of the
deciduous In the fields of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists are agriculturists who grow flowers, fruits and nuts, v ...
pedunculate oak ''Quercus robur'', commonly known as common oak, pedunculate oak, European oak or English oak, is a species of flowering plant in the beech and oak family, Fagaceae. It is native plant, native to most of Europe west of the Caucasus. The tree is w ...
and
sessile oak Image:Quercus petraea 02.jpg, Shoot with leaves and acorn ''Quercus petraea'', commonly known as the sessile oak, Cornish oak, Irish Oak or durmast oak, is a species of oak tree native plant, native to most of Europe and into Anatolia and Iran. ...

sessile oak
accounts for most European oak production, but evergreen species such as and cork oak also produce valuable timber.
Oak bark Tanbark is the bark of certain species of trees. It is traditionally used for tanning hides into leather Leather is a durable and flexible material created by tanning animal rawhide and skins. The most common raw material is cattle hide ...

Oak bark
is also rich in
tannin Tannins (or tannoids) are a class of , ic s that bind to and s and various other organic compounds including s and s. The term ''tannin'' (from ''tanner'', from ''tannāre'', from ''tannum'', ) refers to the use of oak and other bark ...
, and is used by tanners for
tanning Tanning may refer to: *Tanning (leather), treating animal skins to produce leather *Sun tanning, using the sun to darken pale skin **Indoor tanning, the use of artificial light in place of the sun **Sunless tanning, application of a stain or dye to ...
leather Leather is a strong, flexible and durable material obtained from the tanning Tanning may refer to: *Tanning (leather), treating animal skins to produce leather *Sun tanning, using the sun to darken pale skin **Indoor tanning, the use of arti ...

leather
. Oak
gall Galls (from Latin ''galla'', 'oak-apple') or ''cecidia'' (from Greek ''kēkidion'', anything gushing out) are a kind of swelling growth on the external Tissue (biology), tissues of plants, fungi, or animals. Plant galls are abnormal outgrowths ...

gall
s were used for centuries as a main ingredient in
iron gall ink and iron(II) sulfate, ingredients of iron gall ink Iron gall ink (also known as common ink, standard ink, oak gall ink or iron gall nut ink) is a purple-black or brown-black ink made from iron Iron () is a chemical element with Symbol (chemi ...
for manuscripts, harvested at a specific time of year. In Korea, oak bark is used to make
shingles Shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, is a viral disease A viral disease (or viral infection) occurs when an organism's body is invaded by pathogenic viruses, and infection, infectious virus particles (virions) attach to and enter ...
for traditional roof construction.


Culinary

Barrels A barrel or cask is a hollow cylindrical A cylinder (from ) has traditionally been a Solid geometry, three-dimensional solid, one of the most basic of curvilinear geometric shapes. Geometrically, it can be considered as a Prism (geometry) ...
for
aging Ageing or aging (see spelling differences Despite the various English dialects Dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two distinct ways ...
wine Wine is an alcoholic drink An alcoholic drink is a drink A drink (or beverage) is a liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flow ...

wine
s,
sherry Sherry ( es, jerez ) is a fortified wine , a fortified wine Fortified wine is a wine Wine is an alcoholic drink typically made from fermented grape juice. Yeast Yeasts are eukaryotic, single-celled microorganisms classified as me ...

sherry
, and spirits such as
brandy Brandy is a liquor Liquor or spirit (also hard liquor, or distilled alcohol) is an alcoholic drink produced by distillation of grains, fruits, or vegetables that have already gone through alcoholic fermentation. The distillation process co ...

brandy
,
Irish whiskey Irish whiskey ( ga, Fuisce or ''uisce beatha'') is whiskey made on the island of Ireland. The word 'whiskey' (or whisky) comes from the Irish , meaning ''water of life''. Irish whiskey was once the most popular spirit in the world, though a lo ...
,
Scotch whisky Scotch whisky (; sco, Scots whisky/whiskie, whusk(e)y; often simply called whisky or Scotch) is malt whiskyMalt whisky is whisky made from a fermented mashing, mash consisting primarily of malted barley. If the product is made exclusively at a ...
and
Bourbon whiskey Bourbon () is a type of American whiskey bourbon distillery in Loretto, Kentucky American whiskey is whiskey Whisky or whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, wi ...
, are made from European and American oak, with
single barrel whiskeySingle barrel whiskey (or single cask whiskey) is a premium class of whisky, whiskey in which each bottle comes from an individual aging barrel, instead of coming from blending together the contents of various barrels to provide uniformity of color a ...
fetching a premium. The use of oak in wine can add gustatory dimensions depending on the type of oak. Oak barrels, which may be charred before use, contribute to the colour, taste, and aroma of their potable contents, imparting a desirable oaky
vanillin Vanillin is an organic compound with the molecular formula . It is a phenolic aldehyde. Its functional groups include aldehyde, hydroxyl, and ether. It is the primary component of the extract of the vanilla bean. Synthetic vanillin is now used ...

vanillin
flavour. A dilemma for wine producers is to choose between French and American oakwoods. French oaks (''Quercus robur'', ''Q. petraea'') give greater refinement, and are chosen for the best, most expensive wines; while American oak contributes greater texture and resistance to ageing, but produces a more powerful bouquet. Oak wood chips are also used for
smoking Smoking is a practice in which a substance is burned and the resulting smoke Smoke is a collection of airborne and es emitted when a material undergoes or , together with the quantity of air that is or otherwise mixed into the ma ...
fish, meat,
cheese Cheese is a dairy product Dairy products or milk products are a type of food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and conta ...

cheese
s, and other foods. The bark of the
cork oak ''Quercus suber'', commonly called the cork oak, is a medium-sized, evergreen oak tree in the section ''Quercus'' sect. ''Cerris''. It is the primary source of cork for wine bottle stoppers and other uses, such as cork flooring and as the core ...
is used to produce
wine Wine is an alcoholic drink An alcoholic drink is a drink A drink (or beverage) is a liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flow ...

wine
stoppers (corks). This species grows around the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
, with
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
,
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
, and
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
producing most of the world's supply. The
bark Bark may refer to: * Bark (botany), an outer layer of a woody plant * Bark (sound), a vocalization of some animals Places * Bark, Germany * Bark, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland Arts, entertainment, and media * ''Bark'' (Jefferson Airp ...
of the white oak is dried and used in medical preparations.
Acorn The acorn, or oaknut, is the nut Nut often refers to: * Nut (fruit), a fruit composed of a hard shell and a seed * Nut (food), collective noun for dry and edible fruits or seeds * Nut (hardware), a fastener used with a bolt Nut or Nuts may al ...

Acorn
s are used for making flour or roasted for acorn coffee.


Biodiversity and ecology

Oaks are
keystone species A keystone species is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group o ...
in a wide range of habitats from Mediterranean semi-desert to subtropical rainforest. For example, oak trees are important components of hardwood forests, and certain species are particularly known to grow in associations with members of the
Ericaceae The Ericaceae are a family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of soci ...
in oak–heath forests. A number of kinds of
truffle A truffle is the fruiting body In fungi A fungus (plural The plural (sometimes list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical number, grammatical category of number. The plur ...

truffle
s, including the two well known varieties, the black Périgord truffle and the white Piedmont truffle, have symbiotic relationships with oak trees. Similarly many other mushrooms such as ''
Ramaria flavosaponaria ''Ramaria flavosaponaria'' is a species of coral fungus in the family Gomphaceae. It is found in the mountains of eastern North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the W ...

Ramaria flavosaponaria
'' also associate with oaks. The
European pied flycatcher The European pied flycatcher (''Ficedula hypoleuca'') is a small passerine bird in the Old World flycatcher family. One of the four species of Western Palearctic black-and-white flycatchers, it bird hybrid, hybridizes to a limited extent with the ...

European pied flycatcher
is an example of an animal species that often depends upon oak trees. Many species of oaks are under threat of extinction in the wild, largely due to land use changes, livestock grazing and unsustainable harvesting. For example, over the past 200 years, large areas of oak forest in the highlands of Mexico, Central America and the northern Andes have been cleared for coffee plantations and cattle ranching. There is a continuing threat to these forests from exploitation for timber, fuelwood and charcoal. In the US, entire oak ecosystems have declined due to a combination of factors still imperfectly known, but thought to include fire suppression, increased consumption of acorns by growing mammal populations, herbivory of seedlings, and introduced pests. However, it has also been suggested that oaks as generally light-demanding trees with a relatively high tolerance for mechanic disturbances might depend on grazers like
bison Bison are large, even-toed ungulate The even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla , ) are ungulate Ungulates ( ) are members of the diverse clade A clade (; from grc, , ''klados'', "branch"), also known as a monophyletic group or natural gro ...

bison
and the clearances they create in order to regenerate successfully, thus missing them since they were extirpated in most regions following the
European colonization The historical phenomenon of colonization is one that stretches around the globe and across time. Ancient and medieval colonialism was practiced by the Phoenicians, the Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ...
. The mature trees shed varying numbers of acorns annually. Scientists suggest that shedding excess numbers allows the oaks to satiate nut gathering species which improves the chances of germination. Every four to ten years, certain oak populations will synchronize to produce almost no acorns at all, only to rain them down excessively the following year, known as a mast year. The year preceding the mast year is thought to starve off the mammal populations feeding on the supply, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the overproduction in the mast year that follows. This is necessary to the survival of any given oak species, as only one in 10,000 acorns results in an eventual tree.


Diseases and pests

Sudden oak death James Green aka "Sudden" is a fictional character created by an English author Oliver Strange in the early 1930s as the hero of a series, originally published by George Newnes Books Ltd, set in the American Wild West era. Oliver Strange died in ...
(''Phytophthora ramorum'') is a
water mould Oomycota or oomycetes () form a distinct phylogenetic In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molec ...
that can kill oaks within just a few weeks.
Oak wilt Oak wilt is a fungal disease caused by the organism ''Bretziella fagacearum'' that threatens oak, ''Quercus'' spp. The disease is limited to the Midwestern United States, Midwestern and Eastern United States; first described in the 1940's in the ...
, caused by the fungus ''Bretziella fagacearum'' is also a lethal disease of some oaks, particularly the red oaks (the white oaks can be infected but generally live longer). Other dangers include wood-boring
beetle Beetles are a group of insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known a ...

beetle
s, as well as root rot in older trees which may not be apparent on the outside, often being discovered only when the trees come down in a strong
gale A gale is a strong wind, typically used as a descriptor in nautical Seamanship is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emotional pow ...

gale
.
Oak apple An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus ''Quercus'' (; Latin "oak tree") of the beech family, Fagaceae. There are approximately list of Quercus species, 500 extant species of oaks. The common name "oak" also appears in the names of species in rel ...

Oak apple
s are
gall Galls (from Latin ''galla'', 'oak-apple') or ''cecidia'' (from Greek ''kēkidion'', anything gushing out) are a kind of swelling growth on the external Tissue (biology), tissues of plants, fungi, or animals. Plant galls are abnormal outgrowths ...

gall
s on oaks made by the
gall wasp Gall wasps, also incorrectly called gallflies, are hymenopterans of the family Cynipidae in the wasp superfamily Cynipoidea. Their common name comes from the galls they induce on plants for larval development. About 1,300 species of this generall ...
. The female
kermesKermes may refer to : * Kermes (genus), ''Kermes'' (genus), a genus of insects * Kermes (dye), a red dye made from the bodies of Kermes insects * Kermes oak also called ''Quercus coccifera'', the tree on which the Kermes insects traditionally fed * ...
scale Scale or scales may refer to: Mathematics * Scale (descriptive set theory)In the mathematical discipline of descriptive set theory, a scale is a certain kind of object defined on a set (mathematics), set of point (mathematics), points in some Poli ...

scale
causes galls to grow on
kermes oak ''Quercus coccifera'', the kermes oak, is an oak An oak is a tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, ...
. Oaks are used as food plants by the
larva A larva (plural larvae ) is a distinct juvenile form many animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that f ...
e of
Lepidoptera Lepidoptera ( ; ) is an order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, trash, or ...

Lepidoptera
(
butterfly Butterflies are insect Insects (from Latin ') are pancrustacean Hexapoda, hexapod invertebrates of the class (biology), class Insecta. They are the largest group within the arthropod phylum. Insects have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three ...

butterfly
and
moth Moths are a paraphyletic In taxonomy, a group is paraphyletic if it consists of the group's last common ancestor and all descendants of that ancestor excluding a few—typically only one or two—Monophyly, monophyletic subgroups. The g ...

moth
) species such as the
gypsy moth ''Lymantria dispar dispar'', commonly known as the gypsy moth, European gypsy moth, or North American gypsy moth, is a species of moth in the family Erebidae that is of Eurasian origin. It has a range that extends over Europe, Africa, and North A ...
, ''Lymantria dispar'', which can defoliate oak and other broadleaved tree species in North America. A considerable number of
galls File:CrinoidGalls072713.jpg, Galls can also appear on skeletal animals and in the fossil record. Two galls with perforations on a crinoid stem (''Apiocrinites negevensis'') from the Middle Jurassic of southern Israel. Galls (from Latin ''galla'', ...
are found on oak leaves, buds, flowers, roots, etc. Examples are
oak artichoke gall Andricus foecundatrix (formerly ''Andricus fecundator'') is a Parthenogenesis, parthenogenetic gall wasp which lays a single egg within a leaf bud, using its ovipositor, to produce a gall known as an oak artichoke gall, oak hop gall, larch-cone ga ...
,
oak marble gall ''Andricus kollari'', also known as the marble gall, is a parthenogenesis, parthenogenetic species of wasp which causes the formation of marble galls on oak trees. Synonyms for the species include ''Cynips kollari'', ''Andricus quercusgemmae'', '' ...
,
oak apple An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus ''Quercus'' (; Latin "oak tree") of the beech family, Fagaceae. There are approximately list of Quercus species, 500 extant species of oaks. The common name "oak" also appears in the names of species in rel ...

oak apple
gall,
knopper gall ''Andricus quercuscalicis'' is a gall wasp species inducing knopper galls. Knopper galls develop as a chemically induced distortion of growing acorns on pedunculate oak (''Quercus robur ''Quercus robur'', commonly known as common oak, peduncu ...
, and spangle gall. A number of species of fungus cause powdery mildew on oak species. In Europe the species ''Erysiphe alphitoides'' is the most common cause. A new and yet little understood disease of mature oaks, acute oak decline, has been reported in parts of the UK since 2009. The oak processionary moth (''Thaumetopoea processionea'') has become a serious threat in the UK since 2006. The caterpillars of this species defoliate the trees, and are hazardous to human health; their bodies are covered with poisonous hairs which can cause rashes and respiratory problems. In California, oaks are affected by the fungal disease foamy bark canker. The Eastern gray squirrel, eastern grey squirrel (''Sciurus carolinensis'') is native in North America and an invasive species across Europe where they are known to strip bark off of a variety of large trees, including oaks. Bark stripping can result in the death of the leading shoot and decreased Crown (botany), crown size.


Conservation

According to a comprehensive report by Morton Arboretum, The Morton Arboretum and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) an estimated 31% of the world's estimated 430 oak species are threatened with extinction, while the study found an estimated 41% of oak species to be of conservation concern. The countries with the highest numbers of threatened oak species according to the report are China with 36 species,
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern portion of North America. It is borders of Mexico, bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to ...

Mexico
with 32 species, Vietnam with 20 species and the United States, USA with 16 species. While the cause of decline is still partly unknown for some species, the main causes the scientists determined were climate change and invasive pests in the US, and deforestation and urbanization in Asia. In the Himalayan region of India, oak forests are being invaded by pine forests due to the increase in temperature. The associated species of pine forest may cross frontiers and become new elements of the oak forests. In eastern North America, rare species of oak trees include scarlet oak (''Quercus coccinea''), chinkapin oak (''Quercus muehlenbergii''), and post oak (''Quercus stellata'').


Toxicity

The leaves and acorns of the oak tree are poisonous in large amounts to livestock including cattle, horses, sheep, and goats due to the toxin
tannic acid Tannic acid is a specific form of tannin, a type of polyphenol. Its weak acidity (Acid dissociation constant, pKa around 6) is due to the numerous phenol groups in the structure. The chemical formula for commercial tannic acid is often given as ...

tannic acid
, causing kidney damage and gastroenteritis. Symptoms of poisoning include Anorexia (symptom), lack of appetite, depression, constipation, diarrhea (which may contain blood), Hematuria, blood in urine, and equine colic, colic. The exception is the domestic pig, which may be fed entirely on acorns in the right conditions, and has traditionally been pastured in oak woodlands (such as the Spanish ''dehesa (pastoral management), dehesa'' and the English system of pannage).
Acorn The acorn, or oaknut, is the nut Nut often refers to: * Nut (fruit), a fruit composed of a hard shell and a seed * Nut (food), collective noun for dry and edible fruits or seeds * Nut (hardware), a fastener used with a bolt Nut or Nuts may al ...

Acorn
s are also edible by humans, after leaching (chemistry), leaching of the tannins.


Cultural significance


National symbol

The oak is a common symbol of Virtue, strength and endurance and has been chosen as the national tree of many countries. In England, oaks have been a national symbol since at least the sixteenth century, often used by Shakespeare to convey heritage and power. In England today they remain a symbol of the nation's history, traditions, and the beauty of its countryside. Already an ancient Germanic symbol (in the form of the Donar Oak, for instance), certainly since the early nineteenth century, it stands for the nation of Germany and oak branches are thus displayed on some German coins, both of the former Deutsche Mark and the current euro currency. In 2004 the Arbor Day Foundation held a vote for the official National Tree of the United States, United States of America. In November 2004, the United States Congress passed legislation designating the oak as America's National Tree. Other countries have also designated the oak as their national tree including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus (Quercus alnifolia, golden oak), Estonia, France, Germany, Moldova, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Wales.


Oaks as regional and state symbols

The oak is the emblem of County Londonderry in Northern Ireland, as a vast amount of the county was covered in forests of the tree until relatively recently. The name of the county comes from the city of Derry, which originally in Irish language, Irish was known as ''Doire'' meaning "oak". The Irish County Kildare derives its name from the town of Kildare which originally in Irish language, Irish was ''Cill Dara'' meaning the Church of the Oak or Oak Church. In the United States, Iowa designated the oak as its official list of U.S. state trees, state tree in 1961; and the white oak is the state tree of Connecticut, Illinois and Maryland. The
northern red oak ''Quercus rubra'', the northern red oak, is an oak tree in the red oak group (''Quercus'' section ''Lobatae''). It is a native of North America, in the eastern and central United States and southeast and south-central Canada. It grows from the n ...
is the provincial tree of Prince Edward Island, as well as the state tree of New Jersey. The live oak is the state tree of the US state of Georgia (U.S. state), Georgia. The oak is a national symbol from the Basque Country (autonomous community), Basque Country, especially in the province of Biscay. In Colombia, the oak tree is an insignia of the Boyacá Department, Department of Boyacá. In 2008, the Flag of Boyacá Department was amended to include five oak leaves. The oak is a symbol of the East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area), East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area; the coat-of-arms and flag of Oakland, California feature the oak and the logo of the East Bay Regional Park District is an oak leaf. The coats-of-arms of Vest-Agder, Norway, and Blekinge, Sweden, feature oak trees. The coat-of-arms of the municipality Eigersund, Norway features an oak leaf.


Military use

Oak leaves are traditionally an important part of German Army regalia. The Nazi party used the traditional German eagle, standing atop of a swastika inside a wreath of oak leaves. It is also known as the Iron Eagle. During the Third Reich of Nazi Germany, oak leaves were used for military valor decoration on the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross. They also symbolize rank in the United States Armed Forces. A gold oak leaf indicates an O-4 (Major (United States), major or Lieutenant commander (United States), lieutenant commander), whereas a silver oak leaf indicates an O-5 (Lieutenant colonel (United States), lieutenant colonel or Commander (United States), commander). Arrangements of oak leaves, acorns and sprigs indicate different branches of the United States Navy List of United States Navy staff corps, staff corps officers. Oak leaves are embroidered onto the covers (hats) worn by field grade officers and flag officers in the United States armed services. If a member of the United States Army or Air Force earns multiple awards of the same medal, then instead of wearing a ribbon or medal for each award, he or she wears one metal representation of an "oak leaf cluster" attached to the appropriate ribbon for each subsequent award.


Political use

The oak tree is used as a symbol by a number of political parties. It is the symbol of Toryism (on account of the Royal Oak) and the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, and formerly of the Progressive Democrats in Republic of Ireland, Ireland and the Democrats of the Left in Italy. In the cultural arena, the oakleaf is the symbol of the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, National Trust (UK), The Woodland Trust, and The Royal Oak Foundation.


Religious

The prehistoric Proto-Indo-Europeans, Indo-European tribes worshiped the oak and connected it with a thunder or lightning god, and this tradition descended to many classical cultures. In Greek mythology, the oak is the tree sacred to Zeus, king of the gods. In Zeus's oracle in Dodona, Epirus, the sacred oak was the centerpiece of the precinct, and the priests would divine the pronouncements of the god by interpreting the rustling of the oak's leaves. Mortals who destroyed such trees were said to be punished by the gods since the ancient Greeks believed beings called hamadryads inhabit them. In Celtic polytheism, the name of the oak tree was part of the Proto-Celtic word for 'druid': ''*derwo-weyd-'' > ''*-''; however, Proto-Celtic ''*derwo-'' (and ''*dru-'') can also be adjectives for 'strong' and 'firm', so Ranko Matasovic interprets that ''*-'' may mean 'strong knowledge'. As in other India, Indo-European faiths, Taranis, being a thunder god, was associated with the oak tree. "Tree" and ''drus'' may also be cognate with "Druid," the Celtic priest to whom the oak was sacred. There has even been a study that shows that oaks are more likely to be struck by lightning than any other tree of the same height. In Norse mythology, the oak was sacred to the thunder god, Thor. Thor's Oak was a sacred tree of the Germanic Chatti tribe. In Baltic mythology, Baltic and Slavic mythology, the oak was the sacred tree of Latvian mythology, Latvian god Pērkons, Lithuanian mythology, Lithuanian Perkūnas, Prussian mythology, Prussian Perkūns and Slavic Perun, the god of thunder and one of the most important deities. The oak also appears in the Hebrew tradition. In the Bible, the oak tree at Shechem is the site where Jacob buries the foreign gods of his people (Gen. 35:4). Also, Joshua erects a stone under an oak tree as the first covenant of Yahweh, the god of Israel (Josh. 24.25–7). In Isaiah 61, the prophet refers to the Israelites as "Oaks of Righteousness". Absalom's long hair (2 Samuel 18:9) gets caught in an oak tree, and allows Joab to kill him. Vereration of the oak survives in Serbian Orthodox Church tradition. Christmas celebrations include the Badnjak (Serbian), ''badnjak'', a branch taken from a young and straight oak ceremonially felled early on Christmas Eve morning, similar to a yule log. In recent times, only the branches are collected, brought home, and ceremoniously thrown into a stove or church bonfire. In another tradition, a Zapis, z''apis'' (lit. "inscription") is an old, isolated oak on a hilltop or promontory, often inscribed with a cross by a parish priest. Reverence for ' probably originated in pre-Christian times, and they long remained places of public gathering and even of Christian worship where churches were not available. For example, in 1815, at a ''zapis'' assembly in Takovo, ''knez'' Miloš Obrenović declared the start of the Second Serbian Uprising. Even in modern times, cutting down ''zapis'' oaks can result in public outcry, even for projects like road building. In some traditions of Wicca, the Oak King is one of the two faces of the Sun God. He is born on Yule and rules from Ostara to Mabon.


Historical

Several oak trees, such as the Royal Oak (tree), Royal Oak in Britain and the Charter Oak in the United States, are of great historical or cultural importance. "The Proscribed Royalist, 1651", a famous painting by John Everett Millais, depicted a Royalist fleeing from Oliver Cromwell, Cromwell's forces and hidden in an oak. Millais painted the picture in Hayes, Kent, from a local oak tree that became known as the Millais Oak. Approximately 50 km west of Toronto, Canada is the town of Oakville, Ontario, famous for its history as a shipbuilding port on Lake Ontario. The city of Raleigh, N.C., is known as the "City of Oaks". The Jurupa Oak tree – a clonal colony of ''Quercus palmeri'' or Palmer's oak found in Riverside County, California – is an estimated 13,000 years old. Large groups of very old oak trees are rare. One venerable group found in Poland, is about 480 years old, as assessed by dendrochronology. In the Roman Republic, a crown of oak leaves was given to those who had saved the life of a citizen in battle; it was called the "Civic Crown, civic oak crown".


Famous oak trees

: :Individual oak trees, ''Individual oak trees'' * The Emancipation Oak is designated one of the 10 Great Trees of the World by the National Geographic Society and is part of the National Historic Landmark district of Hampton University in Virginia. * The Ivenack Oak which is one of the largest trees in Europe is located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, and is approximately 800 years old. * The Bowthorpe Oak, located in Bourne, Lincolnshire, is thought to be 1,000 years old. It was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records and was filmed for a TV documentary for its astonishing longevity. * The Minchenden Oak Garden#Minchenden Oak, Minchenden (or Chandos) Oak, in Southgate, London, is said to be the largest oak tree in England (already in girth in the nineteenth century), and is perhaps 800 years old. * The Seven Sisters Oak is the largest certified southern live oak tree. Located in Mandeville, Louisiana, it is estimated to be up to 1,500 years old with a trunk that measures . * The Major Oak is an 800- to 1000-year-old tree located in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. According to folklore, it was used by Robin Hood for shelter. * Friendship Oak (Long Beach, Mississippi), Friendship Oak is a 500-year-old southern live oak located in Long Beach, Mississippi. * The Crouch Oak is believed to have originated in the 11th Century and is located in Addlestone, Addlestone, Surrey. It is an important symbol of the town with many local businesses adopting its name. It used to mark the boundary of Windsor Great Park. Legend says that Queen Elizabeth I stopped by it and had a picnic. * The Angel Oak is a southern live oak located in Angel Oak Park on John's Island near Charleston, South Carolina. The Angel Oak is estimated to be in excess of 400–500 years old, stands tall, and measures in circumference. * The Kaiser's Oak, located at the village of Gommecourt, Pas-de-Calais, Gommecourt in Artois, France, named in honour of Kaiser Wilhelm II, symbolically marked from late 1914 to April 1917 the furthest point in the West of the German Imperial Army during World War I. * The Wye Oak in Maryland was the United States' largest white oak tree before it blew down in a storm in 2002, at an estimated age of 460 years. * The Bland Oak in Sydney, Australia, planted in the 1840s, was the largest tree in Australia until it was split in a storm early on New Year Day 1941. * The Treaty Oak (Austin, Texas), Treaty Oak in Austin, Texas, is a Texas live oak, and the last surviving member of the Council Oaks, a grove of 14 trees that served as a sacred meeting place for Comanche and Tonkawa tribes prior to European settlement of the area. * The Holwood House#Wilberforce Oak, Wilberforce Oak was a pollard pedunculate oak in Keston, Kent, under which William Wilberforce resolved to propose the Abolitionism in the United Kingdom, abolition of the slave trade to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons in 1787. The original was a hollow shell by 1969; its young replacement then blew down in the Great Storm of 1987, and the third generation oak now stands in its place. File:Tamme-Lauri Tamm suvel.jpg, Tamme-Lauri oak is the thickest and oldest tree in Estonia. File:Gustave Courbet - Le Gros Chêne (1843).jpg, ''The Big Oak'', by Gustave Courbet (1843). File:Dąb Blaszak (Blaszany) w Henrykowie Gm. Szprotawa.jpg, ''Tin Oak'' in Henryków, Lubusz Voivodeship, Henryków Poland; the name refers to the steel fittings that fasten the damage to the tree.


See also

* List of Quercus species, List of ''Quercus'' species


References


Bibliography

* Byfield, Liz (1990) ''An Oak Tree'', Collins book bus, London: Collins Educational, * Philips, Roger. ''Trees of North America and Europe'', Random House, New York , 1979. * Logan, William B. (2005) ''Oak: The Frame of Civilization'', New York; London: W. W. Norton, * Paterson, R.T . (1993) ''Use of Trees by Livestock'', 5: ''Quercus'', Chatham: Natural Resources Institute, * Royston, Angela (2000) ''Life Cycle of an Oak Tree'', Heinemann first library, Oxford : Heinemann Library, * Savage, Stephen (1994) ''Oak Tree'', Observing nature series, Hove: Wayland, * Tansley, Arthur G., Sir (1952) ''Oaks and Oak Woods'', Field study books, London: Methuen. * Marek Żukow-Karczewski, Żukow-Karczewski, Marek (1988) "Dąb – król polskich drzew" ("Oak – the king of the Polish trees"), ''AURA: A Monthly for the Protection and Shaping of Human Environment'', 9, 20–21.


External links


''Flora of China'' – ''Cyclobalanopsis''

Oak diseases

Flora Europaea: ''Quercus''

Oaks from Bialowieza Forest

Common Oaks of Florida

Oaks of the world

The Global Trees Campaign
The Red List of Oaks and Global Survey of Threatened Quercus
Latvia – the land of oaks
* {{authority control Quercus, Quercus taxa by common names, 01 Wood