The English oak (Latin name: Quercus robur), also known as common oak, pedunculate oak, European oak or English oak, is a species of flowering plant in the beech and oak family, Fagaceae.
The patriarch of the woods, the old English oak, also called common oak, holds a special place in British culture, our history and our nations hearts. We built boats with it for war and sit under it for picnics. It supports more life – over 280 species of insect alone – than any other native tree species in the UK; even its fallen leaves support biodiversity.
The English oak is a large, deciduous tree growing up to 20–40m tall. As common oaks mature they form a broad and spreading crown with sturdy branches beneath. Oaks even shorten with age in order to extend their lifespan and many rest on limbs to support them when they get really old.
Look out for: its distinctive round-lobed leaves with short leaf stalks which are called petioles.
Identified in winter by: rounded buds in clusters. Each bud has more than three scales. Also the branches sometimes look like arms and have a jagged angular appearance.
Top Tip: Not to be confused with: Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) whose leaves have stalks while its acorns don’t have stalks, whereas it’s the opposite in English oak which has tiny or no leaf stalks and acorns with long stalks.