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Oak Tree

Biography

Who lives in a tree like this? Find out all about the wildlife that inhabits England's mightiest tree, and explore a little of the biology of the oak itself

The Basics

We have two native species of oak - the English, or Pedunculate Oak (Quercus Robur), which in the past was more common in the fertile lowlands; and the Sessile, or Durmast Oak (Quercus Petraea), the dominant tree in wetter, less fertile, uplands.

The Basics
A Family Tree

A Family Tree

Oaks have been a feature of our landscape ever since the end of the last Ice Age. As the climate warmed, 10,000 years ago, oaks spread northwards from mainland Europe, crossing over the land bridge which is now the Channel.

Life in an Oak Tree

Few places support such a variety of life as an English oak tree. Its soft leaves rot quickly in autumn, forming rich leafmould for insects and earthworms. The oak's open canopy allows plenty of light to reach the ground, so that many other plants, including primroses, violets, bluebells and ferns, can grow here. The tree itself is home to many birds, small mammals, insects, mosses, lichens and fungi.

Life in an Oak Tree