Tag Archives: Oak

Quercus robur

Botanical Name : Quercus robur
Family: Fagaceae
Genus:     Quercus
Section: Quercus
Species: Q. rob
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Fagales

Synonym: Tanner’s Bark.

Common Names :Oak, English oak or pedunculate oak or French oak

Habitat :   Quercus robur is native to Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Spain, the Urals and Crimea. It grows often on the dominant woodland tree, especially on clay soils and in the eastern half of Britain, but avoiding acid peat and shallow limestone soils

Quercus robur is a large deciduous tree, with circumference of grand oaks from 4 m (13 ft) to exceptional 12 m (39 ft).[citation needed] Majesty Oak with the circumference of 12.2 m (40 ft) is the thickest tree in Great Britain,[citation needed] and Kaive Oak in Latvia with the circumference of 10.2 m (33 ft) is the thickest tree in Northern Europe.[citation needed] Q. robur has lobed and nearly sessile (very short-stalked) leaves 7–14 cm (2.8–5.5 in) long. Flowering takes place in mid spring, and their fruit, called acorns, ripen by the following autumn. The acorns are 2–2.5 cm (0.79–0.98 in) long, pedunculate (having a peduncle or acorn-stalk, 3–7 cm (1.2–2.8 in) long) with one to four acorns on each peduncle.


It is a long-lived tree, with a large widespreading crown of rugged branches. While it may naturally live to an age of a few centuries, many of the oldest trees are pollarded or coppiced, both pruning techniques that extend the tree’s potential lifespan, if not its health. Two individuals of notable longevity are the Stelmuž? Oak in Lithuania and the Granit oak in Bulgaria, which are believed to be more than 1,500 years old, possibly making them the oldest oaks in Europe; another specimen, called the ‘Kongeegen’ (‘Kings Oak’), estimated to be about 1,200 years old, grows in Jaegerspris, Denmark.[citation needed] Yet another can be found in Kvilleken, Sweden, that is over 1,000 years old and 14 metres (46 ft) around.[2] Of maiden (not pollarded) specimens, one of the oldest is the great oak of Ivenack, Germany. Tree-ring research of this tree and other oaks nearby gives an estimated age of 700 to 800 years old. Also the Bowthorpe Oak in Lincolnshire, England is estimated to be 1,000 years old making it the oldest in the UK, although there is Knightwood Oak in the New Forest which is also said to be as old. Highest density of the Q. robur grand oaks with a circumference 4 metres (13 ft) and more is in Latvia.

Prefers a good deep fertile loam which can be on the stiff side. Young plants tolerate reasonable levels of side shade. Succeeds in heavy clay soils and in wet soils so long as the ground is not water-logged for long periods. Dislikes dry or shallow soils but is otherwise drought tolerant once it is established. Tolerant of exposed sites though it dislikes salt-laden winds. The oak is a very important timber tree in Britain, it is also a very important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterfly, there are 284 insect species associated with this tree. It has often been coppiced or pollarded for its wood in the past, though this should not be done too frequently, about once every 50 years is the average. The tree flowers on new growth produced in spring, the seed ripening in its first year. Older trees have a thick corky bark and this can protect them from forest fires, young trees will often regenerate from the base if cut down or killed back by a fire. Intolerant of root disturbance, trees should be planted in their permanent positions whilst young. Hybridizes freely with other members of the genus. Immune to attacks by the tortix moth. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus.
Seed – it quickly loses viability if it is allowed to dry out. It can be stored moist and cool overwinter but is best sown as soon as it is ripe in an outdoor seed bed, though it must be protected from mice, squirrels etc. Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold frame. Plants produce a deep taproot and need to be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible, in fact seed sown in situ will produce the best trees. Trees should not be left in a nursery bed for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved or they will transplant very badly.

Edible Uses: Coffee; Gum.

Seed – cooked. Nourishing but indigestible. Chopped and roasted, the seed is used as an almond substitute[8]. It can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickening in stews etc or mixed with cereals for making bread. The seed contains bitter tannins, these can be leached out by thoroughly washing the seed in running water though many minerals will also be lost. Either the whole seed can be used or the seed can be dried and ground it into a powder. It can take several days or even weeks to properly leach whole seeds, one method was to wrap them in a cloth bag and place them in a stream. Leaching the powder is quicker. A simple taste test can tell when the tannin has been leached. The traditional method of preparing the seed was to bury it in boggy ground overwinter. The germinating seed was dug up in the spring when it would have lost most of its astringency. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute. An edible gum is obtained from the bark. Another report says that an edible manna is obtained from the plant and that it is used instead of butter in cooking. This report probably refers to the gum.

Medicinal Uses:
The astringent effects of the Oak were well known to the Ancients, by whom different parts of the tree were used, but it is the bark which is now employed in medicine. Its action is slightly tonic, strongly astringent and antiseptic. It has a strong astringent bitter taste, and its qualities are extracted both by water and spirit. The odour is slightly aromatic.

Like other astringents, it has been recommended in agues and haemorrhages, and is a good substitute for Quinine in intermittent fever, especially when given with Chamomile flowers.

It is useful in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, either alone or in conjunction with aromatics. A decoction is made from 1 OZ. of bark in a quart of water, boiled down to a pint and taken in wineglassful doses. Externally, this decoction has been advantageously employed as a gargle in chronic sore throat with relaxed uvula, and also as a fomentation. It is also serviceable as an injection for leucorrhoea, and applied locally to bleeding gums and piles.

Other Uses:
Quercus robur’ is planted for forestry, and produces a long-lasting and durable heartwood, much in demand for interior and furniture work. The wood of Q. robur is identified by a close examination of a cross-section perpendicular to fibres. The wood is characterised by its distinct (often wide) dark and light brown growth rings. The earlywood displays a vast number of large vessels (~0.5 mm (0.020 in) diameter). There are rays of thin (~0.1 mm (0.0039 in)) yellow or light brown lines running across the growth rings. The timber is around 720 kg (1,590 lb) per cubic meter in density.

Within its native range Quercus robur is valued for its importance to insects and other wildlife. Numerous insects live on the leaves, buds, and in the acorns. Q.robur supports the highest biodiversity of insect herbivores of any British plant (>400 spp). The acorns form a valuable food resource for several small mammals and some birds, notably Eurasian Jays Garrulus glandarius. Jays were overwhelmingly the primary propagators of oaks before humans began planting them commercially, because of their habit of taking acorns from the umbra of its parent tree and burying it undamaged elsewhere. Mammals, notably squirrels who tend to hoard acorns and other nuts most often leave them too abused to grow in the action of moving or storing them.

Quercus robur is cultivated as an ornamental tree in the temperate regions of most continents. A number of cultivars are grown in gardens and parks and in arboreta and botanical gardens. The most common cultivar is Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’, and is the exception among Q. robur cultivars which are generally smaller than the standard tree, growing to between 10–15 m and exhibit unusual leaf or crown shape characteristics.

Known Hazards : Possible digestive complaints. May delay absorption of alkaloids and other alkaline drugs

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.



Rhus trilobata


Botanical Name ; Rhus trilobata
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Rhus
Species: R. trilobata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common Names :Sourberry, Skunkbush,  Three-leaf sumac,  Trilobata Skunk Bush, Basketbush, Squawbush.

Habitat ;Rhus trilobata is native to the western half of Canada and the Western United States, from the Great Plains to California and south through Arizona extending into northern Mexico. It can be found from deserts to mountain peaks up to about 7,000 feet in elevation.

Rhus trilobata, Skunkbush sumac, grows in many types of plant communities, such as the grasslands east of the Rocky Mountains, mountainous shrubland, pine, juniper, and fir forests, wetlands, oak woodlands, and chaparral. The plant is destroyed above ground but rarely killed by wildfire, and will readily sprout back up in burned areas.

This Rhus species closely resembles other members of the genus that have leaves with three “leaflets” (“trifoliate” leaves). These include Rhus aromatica, native to eastern North America, and western Poison-oak. The shape of the leaflets and the habit of the shrub make this species, like some other Rhus, resemble small-leafed oaks (Quercus).

The Rhus trilobata leaves have a very strong scent when crushed. The aroma is medicinal or bitter, disagreeable enough to some to have gained the plant the name skunkbush. The leaves are green when new and turn orange and brown in the fall. The twigs are fuzzy when new, and turn sleek with age. The flowers, borne on small catkins (“short shoots”), are white or light yellow. Edible fruit, the plant yields hairy and slightly sticky red berries which have an aroma similar to limes and a very sour taste. The acidity comes from tannic and gallic acids. The flowers are animal-pollinated and the seeds are dispersed by animals that eat the berries. The shrub also reproduces vegetatively, sending up sprouts several meters away and forming thickets.

Edible Uses:
The berries, although sour, are edible. They can be baked into bread or mixed into porridge or soup, or steeped to make a tea or tart beverage similar to lemonade.

Medicinal Uses:
The skunkbush sumac has historically been used for medicinal and other purposes. The bark has been chewed or brewed into a drink for cold symptoms, the berries eaten for gastrointestinal complaints and toothache, and the leaves and roots boiled and eaten for many complaints. The leaves have also been smoked.

Skunk bush was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes, who valued it especially for its astringent qualities and used it to treat a range of complaints. Bark: An infusion of the bark has been used as a douche after childbirth. The bark has been chewed, and the juice swallowed, as a treatment for colds and sore gums. Bark has also been used for: Cold remedy, in which the bark is chewed and the juice is swallowed; Oral aid, in which the bark is chewed;

Fruit: The fruit has been eaten as a treatment for stomach problems and grippe. The fruit has been chewed as a treatment for toothache and also used as a mouthwash. A decoction of the fruit has been used as a wash to prevent the hair falling out.  The dried berries have been ground into a powder and dusted onto smallpox pustules.  Veterinary aid.

Leaves: An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of head colds. A decoction of the leaves has been drunk to induce impotency as a method of contraception. A poultice of leaves has been used to treat itches. Leaves are a gastrointestinal aid, in which the leaves are boiled; Diuretic aid, in which the leaves are boiled.

Roots: A decoction of the root bark has been taken to facilitate easy delivery of the placenta. The roots have been used as a deodorant. The buds have been used on the body as a medicinal deodorant and perfume.  Tuberculosis Aid, in which the roots are consumed

Other Uses:
It is sometimes planted for erosion control and landscaping, and is a plant used for reclaiming barren land stripped by mining.The flexible branches were useful and sought after for twisting into basketry and rugs.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Skunkbush Sumac



Botanical Name: Gleditschia triacanthos
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Gleditsia
Species: G. triacanthos
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Synonyms: Gleditschine. Honey Locust. Gleditschia Ferox. Three-(t)horned Acacia. Gleditschine. Gleditschia triacanthos, Gleditschia macracantha.
Parts Used: The twigs and leaves.
Habitat: Eastern and Central United States.

Description: A small, thorny tree, with pinnated leaves and greenish flowers growing in dense spikes. The younger and smaller branches have strong, triple tapering thorns. In the autumn they bear thin, flat pods resembling apple-parings. They contain seeds surrounded by a sweetish pulp from which it is stated that sugar has been extracted. The wood is chiefly used for fencing.

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Gleditschia triacanthos L., or Honey Locust, and G. Macracantha Desf. (Fam. Leguminosae), and are small, thorny trees having pinnate leases and forming elongated pods filled with a sweetish pulp. The trees grow in rich woods in the Eastern and Central United States and are common in cultivation. G. Macracantha is indigenous to China. These trees were chemically studied by B. F. Lautenbach (P. M. T; 1878), who abstracted from them an alkaloid, which he found to produce in the frog stupor and loss of reflex activity, due to an action upon the spinal cord. To this alkaloid Lautenbach gave the name of gleditschine. In 1887 (Med. Rec., 1887) Goodman, Seward, and Claiborne brought before the profession, as a local anesthetic, an alkaloid under the name of stenocarpine which was asserted to be obtained from the Gleditschia triacanthos. In November, 1888, however, F. W. Thompson, of Detroit (Med. Age), and T. G. Novy (Ph. Rund.) and John Marshall of the University of Pennsylvania (Phila. Med. News), published analyses of this solution, showing that it contained 6 per cent. of cocaine, besides some atropine or other mydriatic alkaloid.

Constituents: An alkaloid, Gleditschine, has been abstracted, and another called Stenocarpine. It also contains cocaine, and probably atropine.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Stenocarpine was introduced as a local anaesthetic in 1887. Gleditschine was found to produce stupor and loss of reflex activity in a frog.

Other Species:
G. Macracantha possesses similar properties, and is indigenous to China.