Common Name: Oak
Scientific Name: Quercus species
Family: Fagaceae (the Beech family)
- Sawtooth/Sawthorn Oak (Quercus acutissima) – medium-sized tree
- Encina or California Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) – medium-sized evergreen tree
- White Oak (Quercus alba) – large tree
- Boz-Pimal Oak (Quercus aucheri) – large evergreen shrub
- Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor) – large tree
- Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris) – large tree
- Kermes Oak (Quercus coccifera) – medium-sized evergreen shrub
- Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea) – large tree
- Blue Oak (Quercus douglasii) – medium-sized tree
- Black Oak (Quercus emoryi) – medium-sized tree
- Hungarian Oak (Quercus frainetto) – large tree
- Gambel or Shin Oak (Quercus gambelii) – large shrub
- Glaucous-Leaf Oak or Japanese Blue Oak (Quercus glauca) – medium-sized evergreen tree
- Holly Oak (Quercus ilex) – large evergreen tree
- Holm Oak (Quercus ilex ballota) – large evergreen tree
- Valonia Oak (Quercus ithaburensis macrolepis) – medium-sized tree
- Californian Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii) – large tree
- Bull Oak (Quercus lamellose) – very large evergreen tree
- Overcup Oak (Quercus lyrata) – large tree
- Burr Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) – large tree
- Chinkapin Oak or Yellow Chestnut Oak (Quercus meuhlenbergii) – medium-sized tree
- Swamp Chestnut Oak (Quercus michauxii) – large tree
- Mexican Blue Oak (Quercus oblongifolia) – medium-sized evergreen tree
- Pin Oak (Quercus palustris) – large tree
- Dwarf Chinkapin Oak (Quercus prinoides) – large shrub
- Chestnut Oak (Quercus prinus) – large tree
- English or Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur) – large tree
- Red Oak (Quercus rubra) – large tree
- Post Oak (Quercus stellata) – large tree
- Cork Oak (Quercus suber) – large tree
- Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) – large evergreen tree
- Sierra Live Oak (Quercus wislizeni) – large evergreen tree
- Compton’s Oak (Quercus x hybrid) – large tree
- Schuette’s Oak (Quercus x schuettei) – large tree
The Oaks are a large family of shrubs and trees, about 600 species, which produce acorns. Oak wood is highly valued for everything from timber buildings and furniture to wine/whiskey barrels and shitake mushroom logs. Acorns can be used for making flour or a coffee/tea substitute. The trees themselves are beautiful, large, and long-lived and work great as windbreaks. If you enough space, oaks are a great addition to a Forest Garden.
Native to the northern hemisphere, oaks are found from tropical to cold climates. Oaks have been used for wood and food for thousands of years. Craftsman around the world have used oak wood for centuries. Because of their long lives and strong wood, oaks have been used as national and political symbols, and because of their use is no many areas of life, oaks have been used as religious symbols as well. In more recent times, a number of hybrids and cultivars have been developed for landscaping purposes. Unfortunately, there has not been much development in producing acorns with less tannin.
- Oak trees can be deciduous or evergreen (a.k.a. “Live Oaks”)
- Oaks produce fruit as a nut called an acorn. The nut contains the seed. The “cap” of the acorn is called a “cupule”.
- The fruit of nut trees, like acorns, are generally referred to a “mast”.
- Most acorns have high amounts of tannin, which eaten in large doses, can be toxic to certain animals, namely horses, cattle, and sheep. Pigs, which in certain locations feed on large amounts of Autumn acorns, can have some issues with the toxins, but this is much less common.
- The primary source of corks for wine bottles and other uses comes from the
- Cork Oak (Quercus suber). Cork is considered a renewable resource, since
- harvesting the cork (bark) is done in a way which does not harm the tree.