©BSNHS 2014

A native tree of southern Europe, planted here in country parks, gardens  and coastal areas, where condition are suitable can naturalise, forms a dense spreading tree often wide as it is high, up to 25m in height.

As the tree is normally unable to with stand serve frosts this prevents its spread Northwards but as climatic condition change its range may also extend.

Bark in young trees is smooth maturing into shallow fissures developing into squarish pattern. Leaves are variable but usually ovate to oblong and always with a pointed tip, dark glossy upper surface pale downy underside. Male catkins in dense sprays appear in June, when the whole crown can take on a different form. Acorns are light green enclosed deeply in cup covered in small downy scales.

The tree is host to a low number of invertebrates, one which is a fairly new introduction into this country Ectoedemia heringella  a micro moth of which the larva mines in the leaf layers, was first caught in London in 1996. One notable gall which is common can be seen on the underside of the leaves in hair filled cavities thus causing pimples on the upper surface is Aceria ilicus.

NovemberTree of the Month - HOLM OAK  Quercus ilex Fagaceae

HOLM OAK  Quercus ilex Fagaceae