Oak galls are excrescences that are sometimes produced in great numbers on the tree and are caused by the activity of the larvae of different insects. The insects live inside these galls, obtaining their nutrient therein. When the insect pupates and leaves, the gall can be used as a rich source of tannin, that can also be used as a dyestuff. The bark has been used as a mordant for fixing dyes.Wood - hard, heavy, strong, tough, very durable, close grained. It weighs about 46lb per cubic metre. Of considerable importance as a timber tree, it is used for all types of construction, in making baskets, flooring, cabinet making, ship building etc. It is also a good fuel.
A decoction of the root or inner bark has been used in the treatment of cramps.Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc.
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Trees have a thick, fire-resistant bark. Occasionally cultivated for its edible seed, there are some named varieties. Slow growing in the wild, it takes about 30 years to start producing seed, though it then continues to crop for the next 200 - 300 years with large crops being produced every 2 - 3 years. The tree flowers on new growth produced in spring, the seed ripening in its first year. Prefers warmer summers than are usually experienced in Britain, often growing poorly in this country and failing to properly ripen its wood, resulting in frost damage overwinter. A tree at the Hillier Arboretum in Hampshire was growing well in September 1993. It was 9 metres tall but had a lot of mildew, there was no sign of seeds[K]. There is a dwarf form of this species:- Q. macrocarpa depressa (Nutt.)Engelm. grows about 2 metres tall with corky branches and smaller seeds than the species, usually about 1cm long. Hybridizes freely with other members of the genus.Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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