Yesterday, I had the pleasure of guest-instructing UBC’s Horticulture Training Program students on a winter twig identification walkabout. For our last species on the list, I couldn’t remember whether we were to look at Quercus robur (common oak or English oak) or Quercus rubra (red oak). We eventually sorted out my forgetfulness (it was the latter). Since I didn’t have a chance to visit UBC’s Quercus robur yesterday, I thought the species would be a good BPotD entry for today!
Today’s image is shared by Eike Jablonski, who previously submitted the photographs of Colchicum autumnale. I hinted that Eike should send along some oak photographs (he is a former president of the International Oak Society), and he delivered! He was also kind enough to write part of today’s entry:
An old (about 600 years old) Quercus robur in the Sate Domain Beberbeck near Hofgeismar, Kassel; This beautiful domain is located in a part of the Reinhardt forest (Reinhardtswald), where the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, who lived nearby, are located. You have certainly seen the old oak trees in this area. The acorns of these oaks have been used for centuries as “pig’s food” and have been chopped from time to time. There are several hundred oak trees of this size in the area. The picture was taken 2 years ago in December, and coincidentally this oak was also used as a motive for a stamp I made almost from the same place without knowing this stamp at that time (I add it here for info).
Quercus robur is native to much of Europe, with its range extending beyond the European continent into Asia Minor, the Caucasus, and northern Africa. Its importance to British culture is such that the online resources for the species are extensive, so I think I will redirect you to some of the best sites for additional reading:
- Quercus robur from Kew’s Plants of the World Online includes notes about famous oak trees and the importance of the species for wildlife
- the Woodland Trust’s page on Quercus robur includes some of the mythology and symbolism surrounding the species, as well as a time-lapse video of a “Year in the Life of an English Oak”
- the IUCN RedList’s assessment of Quercus robur (Least Concern in 2017) contains information about habitat and conservation threats