Quercus robur L.

Pedunculate oak or English oak

Family: Fagaceae
54º 34.956N
5º 55.932W

The tree tag number relates to the black tree-maintenance tags, usually fixed on the trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.

The Botanic Gardens has an excellent collection of oak species, both evergreen and deciduous. The pedunculate oak is one of the two oaks native to Ireland (the other is Quercus petraea the sessile oak). The two species can hybridise so identification can be difficult. The oaks at the south end of the main lawn 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 lawn succumbed to Ganoderma fungus and was felled in 2012. The male flowers are in a loosely 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.

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.