How much do you know about oak? It’s one of the most desirable woods for home furniture and decorative accessories and belongs to the genus Quercus which includes more than 600 different species of trees. There are only a couple of evergreen oak species, the rest being deciduous. Oak trees are found in the northern hemisphere, thriving in temperate climates but also including the Mediterranean and tropical forests. Unfortunately, some species are under threat due to deforestation, fungal diseases, insect attacks and other invasive tree species.
Here are some fascinating oak facts that you might not know:
Oak trees can grow to be very large in size, sometimes reaching 70 feet in height and up to 9 feet in width. The biggest branches have been measured to be 135 feet long.
Because of their sheer size, oak trees need a lot of water every day, absorbing around 50 gallons in a day.
One of the largest oak trees can be found in Goose Island State Park in the U.S. It stands 45 feet tall, 35 feet wide, with an impressive span of 90 feet in diameter.
Oak trees have different shaped leaves depending on their species. They can be serrated, lobed or flat with some species having leaves containing bristles.
The fruit that the tree produces is the acorn. An oak tree does not start producing acorns until it is between 20 – 50 years old! An oak tree can produce a staggering 2,000 acorns a year with only 1 in every 10,000 growing into another oak tree.
The trees make both female and male flowers, the female being much smaller than the male. Male flowers are known as catkins and can be found growing in clusters.
Acorns are a nutritious food source for many animals such as pigs, squirrels, pigeons and mice.
Oak trees can be harmful to cattle however. Leaves, buds and acorns contain tannic acid that can prove toxic to cattle. It can cause ulcers to form in the stomach, lead to birth defects in calves and damage kidneys.
Oak is so popular in construction due to its strength. It is used to make ships, drums, furniture and flooring. For your own beautiful oak structure, consider an Oak Porch from http://www.bespoaktimberframes.co.uk/portfolio_page/oak-porch/
It is also the wood of choice for the manufacture of barrels used to store wine and whiskey. It gives the wine and liquor a distinctive aroma that is highly-sought after.
Such is the importance of oak that is the national tree of many nations, including Latvia, Poland, England, Germany, France and the U.S
One of the oldest coins to be used in Britain was engraved with an oak tree on one side.
Most oak trees will live to be more than 200 years old, however there are some species that can survive far longer than that – up to a 1000 years. One particular oak tree in England was planted during the reign of King John and saw a further 35 monarchs on the throne – a lifespan of 800 years.