Woodland Trust

Nature's CalendarNature Detectives

Bluebells are just starting to flower

Oak. Karen Fisheroak

  • Has acorns and distinctively-shaped leaves
  • Male flowers in drooping yellow catkins
  • Female flowers in inconspicuous stalked spikes have reddish colour

  • Oaks can grow 40 metres high and live for more than a thousand years

Oak leaves. Pete HolmesWhen to look for

pedunculate oak

Acorn. Pete HolmesQuercus robur

This is the classic English or common oak

  • The leaves have almost no stalks but the acorns do

Mostly found in mixed woodland, but huge, isolated specimens are also seen in fields, hedgerows and parks. The dominant oak in the lowlands.

oak fact sheet oak fact sheet

sessile oak

Quercus petraea

Opposite to pedunculate oak in that

  • Acorns don’t have stalks
  • Leaves do have stalks

It likes lighter, well-drained soils and is the dominant oak in the uplands most common in the north and west. It doesn’t tolerate flooding, unlike the pedunculate oak.

Did you know?

  • More than 2000 species of fungi grow in association with oak. Why not download our oak fungi fact pack?

  • Oak timber infected by the beefsteak fungus, Fistulina hepatica, is called ‘brown oak’ and used by furniture makers

  • A considerable number of galls are found on oak leaves, buds, flowers, roots, etc. Examples are Oak artichoke gall, Oak Marble gall, Oak apple gall, Knopper gall, and Spangle gall

  • Oak galls and iron salts were used to make a purple-black ink which was the standard writing ink in Europe from 1200 until the nineteenth century and known as ‘iron gall ink’

  • In spring, fresh young oak leaves can be used to make a delicious medium dry white wine

  • The beautiful bright yellow chicken of the woods fungus, Laetiporus sulphureus, is mainly found on oak trees