Forest 82 - English Oak

Quercus robur

Acorns of Quercus robur. Photo not from the Arboretum Quercus robur tree. Photo not from the Arboretum.

Other common names

Pedunculate oak, Common oak, English oak, Irish dair.

Origin of the species name

Quercus is Latin for oak; robur is Latin for strength and refers to the tree's hard wood.



Date planted

October 2010


Trees of this species can live for over 1500 years.

Quercus_robur leaves. Photo not from the Arboretum

General description

This is a large deciduous tree with a round crown. The trunks can sometimes be short and very thick with the tree branching low down. The bark is grey-brown and becomes deeply fissured with age. The leaves are roundly lobed, dark shiny green above and paler blue-green beneath. The acorns are held by shallow, knobbly cups. It belongs to the 'white oak' section of the genus. It can live to at least 1500 years. Height 25m Spread 20m.

Natural distribution and habitat

The species is native to most of Europe and Asia Minor, the Caucasus and parts of North Africa. It occupies a wide range of habitats and is often the dominant tree in woodlands on moist clay soils.

Conservation status

The species is not classified as threatened.

Planting pattern

Planted in a regular square grid pattern.


It is widely planted for forestry, and produces a long-lasting and durable heartwood, much in demand for interior beams, panelling and furniture making. The timber was historically valued in ship-building for its strength. Other uses included making beer barrels and wine casks. The oak tree has a long history of medicinal use and the bark is the most commonly used part of the plant. A decoction of the bark has been used in the treatment of chronic diarrhoea, dysentery, intermittent fevers and haemorrhages. A solution was also used for tanning leather.

Further reading

Rushforth, K. (1999). Trees of Britain and Europe. Collins.