There are four different types of oak on Bidston Hill; Sessile oak, Pedunculate oak, Turkey oak and Holm oak.
Traditionally in Britain, oak provided people with four essential products: bark for tanning leather, acorns for fattening pigs, wood for fuel or charcoal and massive timbers for house and ship building.
They are easily identified if you know what to look for. We will look at Holm oaks separately, as they are quite different to the others.
All oak trees produce acorns, so check around the base of the tree and see if you find any. Have a look at the leaf you are trying to identify and at the three drawings below, and see if you can spot any similarities between your leaf and the drawing. Pay particular attention to any acorns you find, especially if they are still attached to the tree.
Has acorns on stalks or peduncles.
Acorns grow directly from the twig.
Has feathery scales on acorn and buds.
Oak flowers are very similar on each of our four oaks. Turkey, Sessile and Pedunculate oaks produce flowers in May; Holm oak flowers appear in June. Male and female flowers are found separated on the same tree. The male flowers (shown above) cascade from the twigs in catkins. The female flowers grow in small groups or on their own, and develop into acorns.
Oak bark texture can vary between types (species), especially between the deciduous and evergreen varieties.
However, for the most part bark tends to be rough and vertically scaled tends to be rough and vertically scaled with little or no set pattern (see above). Holm oaks have smaller more compact scaling and tend to be a little smoother, with bark more like that of a holly.
Quercus ilex (or Holly Oak)
Holm oaks are evergreen with lightly lobed leaves. Young leaves are often downy on both surfaces, but the down falls away to reveal a glossy dark green leaf.
- Cabinet and furniture making
- Boat building