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QUERCUS robur

Image of Quercus robur

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Fagaceae

Botanical Name

QUERCUS robur

Plant Common Name

English Oak

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

A ruggedly handsome tree, the English oak has strong branches on its rounded canopy, with classic lobed leaves and oval acorns. A deciduous tree native to Europe and western Asia, it has bark that is ridged and furrowed, rich brown to gray-black in color. The wavy-edged leaves are oblong with very short stems with few to many lobes. They are glossy green to nearly deep bluish green with a lighter green underside, first emerging very downy in the late spring. As the leave emerge, the pendent male flower spikes, called catkins, line the ends of branches. Soon after the pollen shedding ends, the small rounded female blossoms open at the bases of new leaves on new twig growth. Once pollinated, the female flowers develop into oblong oval fruits called acorns, singly or in clusters up to five. The leaves in autumn are held quite late on the branches, and rarely create any display of impressive color. Large birds, such as ducks, crows and quail, will use the acorns as food, as well as many rodents and small mammals.

Plant English oak in a moist, well-draining soil that is quite fertile for most robust growth. Amazingly, this species is very tolerant of both dry and very alkaline soils, too. It is far too large of a tree for use in small spaces, and is best suited for large lawns or meadows. For smaller landscapes, consider the narrow, upright natural form fastigiata and cultivars ‘Skyrocket’, ‘Attention’ and ‘Rose Hill’. Various colored foliage selections include the purple-leaved ‘Atropurpurea’, yellowed ‘Concordia’ or the white-edged leaves of ‘Variegata’. In severe winters there is often significant twig dieback and mildew frequently affects the foliage during the growing season in regions with warm, humid summers.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 3

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    50'-120' / 15.2m - 36.6m

  • Width

    60'-80' / 18.3m - 24.4m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring

  • Native To

    Europe, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe, Russia/Siberia, Northern Africa, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Red, Light Green

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Brown

  • Bark Color

    Brown, Chocolate

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Corky

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes