English oak

English Oak

©Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

English Oak

©Guy Edwardes/2020VISION

English Oak

©Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

English oak

Scientific name: Quercus robur
The English oak is, perhaps, our most iconic tree: the one that almost every child and adult alike could draw the lobed leaf of, or describe the acorn fruits of. A widespread tree, it is prized for its wood.

Species information


Height: 20-40m

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


Also known as the 'Pedunculate oak' because its acorns grow on stalks or 'peduncles', the English oak is a common tree. It displays a broad, spreading crown above thick branches and a trunk that becomes fissured with age. Its autumnal acorns are highly prized by both people and wildlife - the former use them for fodder for pigs and the latter often store them for the long winter ahead.
Its wood was traditionally used for building ships and houses, and making furniture.

How to identify

Oaks are our most familiar trees, easily recognised by their lobed leaf shape and tell-tale acorns. The English oak is broader than the Sessile oak, and carries its acorns on stalks.



Did you know?

English oaks can grow to very old ages, living well over 500 years, especially if they are pollarded. One of the most famous English oaks in the country is the Major oak in Sherwood Forest - thought to be over 800 years old, it was believed to have been standing when the legendary Robin Hood was outlawed in the forest. Local folklore suggests he used it as a hideout, but it would only have been a sapling in the 12th century!

How people can help

Our native tree species provide important links in the food chain for many animals, as well as areas for shelter and nesting. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species throughout the food chain, so look after many nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from coppicing to craft-making, stockwatching to surveying.