Oak (Quercus)

Table of Contents (hide)

  1.   1.  Description
  2.   2.  Types
    1.   2.1  Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
    2.   2.2  English Oak (Quercus robur)
  3.   3.  Uses
  4.   4.  Toxicity
  5.   5.  More
  6.   6.  'Souls
Common Name Oak
Latin Name Quercus (genus)
Icon(s)
Tree Oak Tree Acorn

Oak tree, near Kersoe - geograph.org.uk - 851570.jpg
by Philip Halling
via Wikipedia Commons

1.  Description

An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus, having 600 extant species. Both species of oak present within 'Souls are deciduous.

The two species of Oak present within 'Sousls -- Red and English Oaks -- typically do not hybridize. The Red Oak is of section Lobatae while the English Oak is of Quercus section.

2.  Types

2.1  Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

This tree grows straight and tall, to 28 m (90 ft), exceptionally to 43 m (140 ft) tall, with a trunk of up to 50–100 cm (20–40 in) diameter. Under optimal conditions, northern red oak is fast growing and a 10-year-old tree can be 5–6 m (15–20 ft) tall. It has dark reddish grey brown bark that appears scaly and slashed with coppery red. Its bark is rich in tannic acid.

Growth

Common. It prefers well-drained, good soil that is slightly acidic, bordering streams. However, it is tolerant of many soils and varied situations.

Uses

  • Food: Acorns mature in 18 months and taste very bitter.
  • Wood: It is a pale reddish brown, with darker sapwood. It is heavy, hard, strong, coarse-grained. Cracks in drying, but when carefully treated could be successfully used for furniture. Red oak wood grain is so open that smoke can be blown through it from end-grain to end-grain on a flat-sawn board. For this reason, it is subject to moisture infiltration and is unsuitable for outdoor uses such as boatbuilding or exterior trim.

2.2  English Oak (Quercus robur)

Quercus robur is a large deciduous tree, with circumference of grand oaks from 4 m (13') to exceptional 12m (40'). Q. robur has lobed and nearly sessile (very short-stalked) leaves 7–14 cm long. Flowering takes place in mid spring, and their fruit, called acorns, ripen by the following autumn.

It is a long-lived tree, with a large widespreading crown of rugged branches. While it may naturally live to an age of a few centuries, many of the oldest trees are pollarded or coppiced, both pruning techniques that extend the tree's potential lifespan, if not its health. There are numerous specimins of over a thousand years old.

Growth

Semi-Common -- English oak, native to Europe and some parts of Asia, is not a native Nova Scotian plant, but it has positively taken over the Ethereal Eclipse.

Uses

  • Food: Acorns mature in 6 months and taste sweet or slightly bitter.

Wood

English Oak produces a long-lasting and durable heartwood, much in demand for interior and furniture work. The wood of Q. robur is identified by a close examination of a cross-section perpendicular to fibres. The wood is characterised by its distinct (often wide) dark and light brown growth rings. The earlywood displays a vast number of large vessels (~0.5 mm diameter). There are rays of thin (~0.1 mm) yellow or light brown lines running across the growth rings. The timber is around 720 kg per cubic meter in density.

3.  Uses

  • Tannins: Bitter plant compound obtained from bark, acorns, or wood that is used in various processes. E.g., tanning animal hides into leather, inks.
  • Wood: Oak wood has a density of about 0.75 g/cm3, great strength and hardness, and is very resistant to insect and fungal attack because of its high tannin content. It also has very appealing grain markings, particularly when quartersawn.

4.  Toxicity

The leaves and acorns of the oak tree are poisonous to cattle, horses, sheep, and goats in large amounts due to the toxin tannic acid, and cause kidney damage and gastroenteritis. Additionally, once livestock have a taste for the leaves and acorns, they may seek them out. Symptoms of poisoning include lack of appetite, depression, constipation, diarrhea (which may contain blood), blood in urine, and colic.

The exception to livestock and oak toxicity is the domestic pig, which may be fed entirely on acorns in the right conditions, and has traditionally been pastured in oak woodlands. They are a staple part of the forage consumed by wildlife, including squirrels.

5.  More

6.  'Souls

  • Hey, did your character do something cool with this plant?
  • Or maybe your pack has it for trade?
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