The Oak reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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''This article is about oak trees and shrubs. OAK is also the three-letter IATA airport code for Oakland International Airport in Oakland, California USA.


Acorns of Quercus kerrii (a species in
Quercus subgenus Cyclobalanopsis)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fagales
Family: Fagaceae
Genus: Quercus
List of Quercus species

Table of contents
1 Oaks
2 Classification
3 Uses
4 Cultivation
5 Diseases and pests
6 Historical note on Linnaean species
7 See also
8 External links


The term oak can be used as part of the common name of any of several hundred species of trees and shrubs in the genus Quercus, and some related genera, notably Lithocarpus. The genus is native to the northern hemisphere, and includes deciduous and evergreen species extending from cold latitudes to tropical Asia and America. The fruits of oaks are called acorns. The "live oaks - oaks with evergreen leaves - are not a distinct group, instead with their members scattered among the sections below.


The genus is divided into two subgenera and a number of sections: List of Quercus species


Timber of quercus robur
timber of Quercus robur
Oaks are hardwood trees, the wood commonly used in furniture and flooring. The bark of Quercus suber, or Cork oak, is used to produce wine stoppers (corks). This species grows in the Mediterranean Sea region, with Portugal, Spain, Algeria and Morocco producing most of the world's supply. Some European and American oak species are used to make barrelss where wine and other spirits are aged; the barrels contribute to the taste.

Of the North American oaks, the most prized of the red oak group for lumber, all of which is marketed as red oak regardless of the species of origin, is that of the Northern red oak, Quercus rubra (a.k.a. Q. borealis). The standard for the lumber of the white oak group, all of which is marketed as white oak, is the White oak, Quercus alba. White oak is often used for the construction of barrels for aging wine. The wood of Quercus robur, the English oak and Quercus petraea, the Sessile oak, is extensively used in Europe.


Oak acorns require stratification to stimulate sprouting. Most
white oaks need immediate stratification; indeed, species such as the Chestnut oak (Quercus prinus) will sprout a root upon falling and must have a suitable substrate for immediate rooting. On the other hand, many red oak acorns may be stratified for up to two years before sprouting.

Oak tree in summer
oak tree in summer

Diseases and pests

Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum) is a water mould fungus that can kill oaks within just a few weeks. Oak Wilt, caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum (a fungus closely related to Dutch Elm Disease), is also a lethal disease of some oaks, particularly the red oaks (the white oaks can be infected but resist the disease better, and are not usually killed). Other dangers include wood-boring beetles, as well as root rot in older trees which may not be apparent on the outside, often only being discovered when the trees come down in a strong gale.

Historical note on Linnaean species

Linnaeus described only five species of oak from eastern North America, based on general leaf form. These were White oak, Q. alba, Chestnut oak, Q. prinus, Red oak, Q. rubra, Willow oak, Q. phellos, and Water oak, Q. nigra. Because he was dealing with confusing leaf forms, the Q. prinus and Q. rubra specimens actually included mixed foliage of more than one species. For that reason, some taxonomists in the past proposed different names for these two species (Q. montana and Q. borealis, respectively) but the original Linnaean names have now been lectotypified with only the specimens in Linnaeus' herbarium that refer to the species the names are applied to now.

Large oak tree
Large Oak Tree

bark of Quercus robur

See also

Trees of Britain, Trees of the world, Royal Oak (tree)

External links