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Pedunculate oak

Pedunculate Oak
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fagales
Family: Fagaceae
Genus: Quercus
Species: robur
Binomial name
Quercus robur

The Pedunculate Oak is also called the Common Oak in Britain. It is native to most of Europe, and to Asia Minor to the Caucasus, and also to parts of North Africa. The botanic name is Quercus robur L. In North America it is often called the English Oak.

It is a large deciduous Oak tree, with lobed and sessile (stalk-less) leaves. Flowering takes place in early to mid spring, and their fruit, called "acorns", ripen by autumn of the same year. The acorns are pedunculate (having a peduncle or acorn-stalk) and may occur singly, or several acorns may occur on a stalk.

It forms a long-lived tree, with a large widespreading head of rugged branches. While it may naturally live to an age of a few centuries, many of the oldest trees will be pollarded or coppiced, both pruning techniques that extend the tree's age if not its health.

Its closest relative includes Sessile oak (Quercus petraea), which shares much of its range. Pedunculate Oak is distinguished from this species by its leaves having no stalk, and being borne directly on the stem, and by its pendunculate acorns. The two do hybridise.

Within its native range it is valued for its importance to insects and other wildlife. Numerous insects live on the leaves, buds, and in the acorns. The acorns form a valuable food resource for several small mammals and some birds, notably Jays.

It is planted for forestry, and produces a long-lasting and durable heartwood, much in demand for interior and furniture work.

A number of cultivated forms are grown in arboreta and in parks and gardens. The most common cultivated form probably is the subspecies named Quercus robur fastigiata, with a narrow and columnar head. This is derived from upright forms that occur naturally in parts of central Europe. Some hybrids with other species may also be found, including Q. x turnerii (Q. ilex x Q. robur), and Q. x rosacea (Q. petraea x Q. robur).