03 September 2014

Q...

...is for Quercus robur...


...more commonly known as an English Oak one of around 600 species of oak found across the world.  This one is deciduous [sheds it's leaves in autumn] some are evergreen.  They are wind pollinated and all produce acorns, but not until they are about 50 years old, from the female flowers.  Oaks are monoecious they produce male and female flowers on the same tree.  Their wonderful spreading shape is produced from buds that are all arranged in clusters at the tip of each twig.  The timber from an Oak is one of the strongest in the world and they have produced huge beams for many buildings including supporting the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, which are nearly 15m/50ft.

They are stepped in history and legends.  Dedicated to the gods of thunder for the Greeks [Zeus], Romans [Jupiter] and Norse [Thor].  The Druids made distilled water from the flower buds to cleanse the internal body and used water from hollows to cleanse the external body in readiness for the
Summer Solstice.  Full moons in December and June have been named after the Oak.  It was regarded as the great fertilising power who sent rain and caused the earth to bear fruit.  At Yule [Winter Solstice] the Oak King would fight the Holly King and the Oak would reign until Litha [Summer Solstice] when the duel would happen again and the Holly would be crowned King.
 It is a mighty and beautiful tree.

Joining in with the Alphabet Photography Project.

12 comments:

  1. Fascinating information about one of our best loved trees. I remember my school badge featuring an acorn and oak leaf and our school motto being Sicut arbor lucem pettimus (like a tree we seek the light) It appears in so many well loved phrases such as Mighty oaks from little acorns grow, Hearts of oak are our ships Jolly tars are our men, If the oak is out before the ash summer will be just a splash but if the ash is out before the oak then it will be a soak but I gather that climate change has made this no longer true see here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3343188/Ash-no-longer-a-contender-to-leaf-before-oak.html. There is just so much to find out on the subject of oaks isn't there?!

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  2. Well done you on finding a "Q"! I loved this post, so much interesting information. I do love our ancient trees and all of the folklore that surrounds them. CJ xx

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  3. Oak represents (to me at least) how we are acorns who will eventually be oak trees. They just mean strong and always dependable. #alphabetphoto

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  4. What an interesting 'Q' - with a history/culture lesson too! #AlphabetPhoto x

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  5. Lovely post. I'm embarrassed to say I don't know much about trees, so it's good to learn something new here! xxx

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  6. Great Q and such an interesting post, I learnt loads reading this, thank you :-) #Alphabetphoto

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  7. They are certainly legendary trees, and so much a part of Britain's landscape and history.

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  8. What a fascinating post, thanks for sharing this with us. A wonderful Q :) #alphabetphoto

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  9. Great post and my favourite tree. We've been trying to explain to Monkey that trees can be really old and haven seen so much, but he can't grasp the concept at all #alphabetphoto

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  10. A lovely educational post and beautiful photo. I miss oak trees - so majestic and magical :) #AlphabetPhoto

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  11. A beautifully written, informative post. Someday, I hope I will get to meet an English Oak in person. 15m at St. Paul's, wow! xo

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