Oaks - Quercus spp

Oaks Quercus spp belong to the Beech family Fagaceae and dominate the woods and forests in this area. There are 7 species, all of which are reasonably common, but not all are native. They are wind pollinated, with petalless, nectarless flowers. Their nuts, known as acorns, grow from a woody cup, in groups of 1 - 3.

Pedunculate (Common) Oak Q. robur: The most common species, widely grown for lumber, firewood and as a host for truffles. A large, spreading, deciduous tree with rough bark. The leaves have very short stalks and rounded lobes with auricles ('ears') at the base. The acorns are on long stalks (a peduncle is a flower/fruit stalk), September and October. Below, an old Pedunculate Oak on the edge of the Etang de la mer rouge in the Brenne, June.

Note long stalked acorn and short stalked leaves.

Sessile (Durmast) Oak
Q. petraea: Less spreading than Pedunculate Oak, with leaves on long stalks and no auricles. The acorns are virtually stalkless (sessile means stalkless). Deciduous. Widely grown for lumber.

Q. x rosacea: A hybrid of the two species above, with long leaf stalks and auricles ie. a mixture of characters from the parent species. Deciduous.

Turkey Oak Q. cerris: Long stalked leaves with deeply cut lobes with pointed tips and twigs that have long 'whiskers'. The acorn cups are bristly. Not native to this area, comes from further to the south-east. Deciduous.

American Red Oak Q. rubra: Large leaves with sharply pointed lobes which turn red in the autumn. The acorns are also red brown. Often planted here for timber, but native to North America. Deciduous.

Evergreen (Holm) Oak Q. ilex: Evergreen, with warty bark and dark glossy green leaves, very similar in shape to some holly leaves. The acorn cup and the underside of the leaves are woolly. This is a Mediterranean species which has been introduced to this area, often used as in truffle plantations.

Downy (White) Oak Q. pubescens: Generally much smaller than the species above (often just a shrub) and the dominant species on the limestone buttes. There is an exceptionally large one on the Eperon de Murat at Ferriere-Larcon. Deciduous. Very like Pedunculate Oak, but the young leaves and twigs are woolly all over (mature leaves are just woolly underneath). Acorns are more or less stalkless and the scales of the cup pointed and somewhat woolly. Used by a few experimental truffle growers in the area.

Pyrenean Oak Q. pyrenaica: Another small species, with deeply narrowly lobed leaves, woolly underneath. Deciduous. Young twigs woolly, acorns short stalked (or stalkless), with blunt scales on the cup, somewhat woolly.

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