English Oak Lucy Robinson/ClimateWatcher

English Oak

Quercus robur

Did You Know?

  • It is native to Europe, western Asia and northern Africa
  • It may take up to 30 years to bear its first acorns but it can live for more than 700 years
  • Its wood has been an important source of timber in England for centuries, and was used to make sailing ships
FactBox Image

A deciduous tree, usually 12 – 20 m high when planted in parks and gardens but can reach about 40 m high in its natural environment.

Its low, wide-spreading and rounded canopy is usually 10 – 18 m wide. Its trunk is typically short, with ridged dark grey to black bark.

Leaves

Dark green and oval to rectangular in shape with 3 – 7 rounded lobes on either side. They are 7.5 – 12.5 cm long and have a very short stem. They are pale blue-green underneath and turn tan to brown in autumn, before falling from the tree in late winter.

Flowers

Tiny, green to pale yellow, hanging in slim, cylindrical clusters (known as catkins).

Fruits/Seeds

Oval acorns, 2 – 2.5 cm long, grow singly or in clusters of 2 – 5 at the end of a 5 – 10 cm long stalk. A cap covers about one third of each acorn.

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What to Observe

  • First fully open single flower

  • Full flowering (record all days)

  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)

  • First fully open leaf

  • Leaves open (record all days)

  • Seeds (acorns) dropped to the ground (record all days)

  • First leaf to change colour

  • First leaf to drop this year

  • Leaves changing colour (record all days)

  • 50% or more of leaves dropped (record all days)

  • No leaves (record all days)

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When and Where

When To Look

  • Most of the year
  • Leaves and flowers appear in early spring
  • Acorns appear after flowering (usually in autumn)
  • Leaves change colour in autumn before falling in late winter

Where To Look

  • Throughout Australia, especially in south and eastern Australia because it can be sensitive to frost and humidity
  • Not native to Australia but often planted in urban parks, gardens and along roadsides
  • Look in urban areas, large public gardens and along streets
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What Else?

Similar Species

White Oak (Quercus alba) doesn’t have the earlike lobes at the base of its leaves, or the very short leaf stalks.