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Quercus robur (English oak)

Unrivalled king of the forest in Britain, English oak (pedunculate oak) is synonymous with strength, size and longevity.
Acorns and leaves of English oak

Acorns and leaves of Quercus robur (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Quercus robur L.

Common name: 

English oak, pedunculate oak, common oak

Conservation status: 

Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria.



Key Uses: 

Timber, tanning leather, food for livestock.

Known hazards: 

Tannic acid in the leaves is poisonous to horses if consumed in excess, damaging the kidneys. Acorns are poisonous to horses and cattle, though swine can consume them safely in moderation.


Genus: Quercus

About this species

English oak is probably the most well-known and best-loved of the tree species native to Britain. This king of the forest can live for more than a millennium according to some sources, and grow up to 40 m high. Mature specimens are usually home to many species of wildlife. Since the Druids, and probably long before, the oak has played an important role in British culture. Couples were still wed under ancient oaks as late as Oliver Cromwell's time and the Yule log, kept from one year to another to warm the Christmas celebrations, was traditionally cut from oak.


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State of the World’s Plants Symposium

Photo of forest surrounded by mist

In conjunction with the launch of a ground-breaking new report, scientists and policymakers will gather at Kew to take stock of the world’s plant diversity, associated research and trends.