Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens is compiled by members of the Friends group and Gardens staff. We aim to build up to a comprehensive archive of trees in Belfast Botanic Gardens. Each article illustrates a tree growing in Belfast Botanic Gardens together with information from a range of sources. Where possible we will give the tree tag number - these are the small aluminium discs, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Quercus robur
Pedunculate oak or English oak

Tag 480
54 deg 34.956N
5 deg 55.932W

The Botanic Gardens has an excellent collection of oak species, both evergreen and deciduous. The pedunculate oak in one of the two oaks native to Ireland (the other is Quercus petraea). Unfortunately the two species can hybridize so identification can be difficult. The oaks at the south end of the main field are Q. robur, having long stalks on the acorns and leaves with a very short leaf stalk. One of the mature oaks in the main field succumbed to Ganoderma fungus and was felled in 2012. The male flowers are in a loosly constructed catkin (see photos below) and the female flowers are tiny (1-2mm) red flask-shaped structures that can be very hard to find.

Oaks form the dominant tree in natural Irish forests (and in most of western Europe) and have always had great economic value. Oak is the timber of choice for house building and boat building. Irish oak was exported in large amounts for every purpose from staves for barrels to the roof of Westminster Abbey

Quercus robur in Belfast Botanic Gardens

spring foliage of Quercus robur

left and above newly expanding leaves in April

male flowers of Quercus robur male

female flowers of Quercus roburoak female flowers

For information about Irish oaks see Flora Hibernica by JR Pilcher and VA Hall (Collins Press)

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2007. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

Click here to view the rest of the tree archive