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Edible uses


Seed - cooked[1][2]. The seed was a staple food for several native North American Indian tribes[3]. It contains bitter-tasting tannins and there are various ways of removing them. The fastest is by soaking the ground-up seed in hot water - if the water is changed at least once the tannins should be removed within 12 hours. Traditionally, the seeds were placed in a cloth bag and either buried in swampy ground or suspended in a running stream for a few months. Once the tannins have been removed, the seed is then dried, ground into a powder and can be used as a porridge or can be mixed with cereal flours in baking bread etc[4][3]. It has a pleasant taste after it has been leached[5]. The seed is up to 25mm long and wide[6][7]. The seed is valued for its oil[5].

Unknown part


Material uses

The bark is exceedingly rich in tannin, yielding up to 29%[8][6][9][10]. It has been used as a brown dye and also to preserve rope that is being used in water[257, K]. Wood - hard, strong, close grained, brittle. It is not commercially important and is used mainly for fuel[6][7].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The bark is very astringent. An infusion is used as a wash for face sores[3]. The infusion can also be held in the mouth to tighten loose teeth[3].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer


Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame[11]. It needs to be protected from mice, squirrels and other seed eaters. The seed has a short viability but can be stored for a few months if kept cool and slightly damp - the salad compartment of a fridge is a good storage place. Germination takes place in the winter or early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. If the plants are 15cm or more tall by the summer they can be planted out into their permanent positions. Give them a good weed-excluding mulch and some protection from the cold for their first couple of years outdoors. If growth is not sufficient then grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Lithocarpus densiflorus. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers a deep fertile soil with medium drainage[11].

Perfectly hardy at Kew[8], trees produced seed at Kew in the very hot summer of 1989[K]. A slow-growing tree in the wild, living up to 300 - 350 years old[7].

Plants usually flower in the spring and sometimes again in the autumn[12]. The seeds take two seasons to ripen[7]. Prolific crops are usually produced every other year in the wild[7].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Lithocarpus densiflorus. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Lithocarpus densiflorus.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Lithocarpus densiflorus
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? 1.01.1 Sweet. M. Common Edible and Useful Plants of the West. Naturegraph Co. ISBN 0-911010-54-8 (1962-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-23310-3 (1976-00-00)
    3. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    5. ? Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
    6. ? Sargent. C. S. Manual of the Trees of N. America. Dover Publications Inc. New York. ISBN 0-486-20278-X (1965-00-00)
    7. ? Elias. T. The Complete Trees of N. America. Field Guide and Natural History. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. ISBN 0442238622 (1980-00-00)
    8. ? Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement. Murray (1981-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 ? Encyclopaedia Britannica. 15th edition. ()
    10. ? 10.010.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    11. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    12. ? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
    13. ? Munz. A California Flora. University of California Press (1959-00-00)

    Facts about "Lithocarpus densiflorus"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyFagaceae +
    Belongs to genusLithocarpus +
    Has binomial nameLithocarpus densiflorus +
    Has common nameTanbark Oak +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partUnknown part + and Seed +
    Has edible useOil + and Unknown use +
    Has flowers of typeMonoecious +
    Has growth rateSlow +
    Has hardiness zone7 +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useDye +, Fuel +, Preservative +, Tannin + and Wood +
    Has mature height10 +
    Has mature width10 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAstringent +, Odontalgic + and Skin +
    Has search namelithocarpus densiflorus + and tanbark oak +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameLithocarpus densiflorus +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Inhabits ecosystem nicheCanopy +
    Is deciduous or evergreenEvergreen +
    Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
    Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Lithocarpus densiflorus +, Lithocarpus densiflorus +, Lithocarpus densiflorus +, Lithocarpus densiflorus +, Lithocarpus densiflorus +, Lithocarpus densiflorus +, Lithocarpus densiflorus +, Lithocarpus densiflorus +, Lithocarpus densiflorus + and Lithocarpus densiflorus +