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A valuable tree to both insects and wildlife, the quercus robur, or English Oak, provides a home for many different creatures. Q. robur bears the acorns that many animals depend upon for sustenance. Many common human ailments may also be treated with essential oils created from the tree's bark.
Latin for "strong, hard timber," quercus robur is also known as the Pedunculate Oak. The tree is native to Europe and Asia, and has since been planted widely in North America. Large and deciduous, Q. robur can grow up to 82 to 98 feet (25 to 30 meters) tall. English Oaks sport short-stalked, lobed leaves, fissured gray-brown bark, and a stout trunk. Flowering in mid-spring, the tree bears its ripened fruit, acorns, by fall.
Humans use quercus robur for various herbal remedies. The bark is considered a powerful astringent. Diarrhea, laryngitis, burns, cuts, sunburn, kidney problems, and throat problems have all been treated by the home herbal remedy. The bark has also been used in treating fever, colds, bronchitis, cough, and mild skin inflammation. These treatments are commonly provided as a cold compress, alcohol tincture, tea, or cream.
An average dose of quercus robur is one teaspoon (3 grams). English Oak should not be applied over large areas of the skin. If ingested, it can cause digestive problems. The remedy should also be avoided by people with severe skin inflammation, as it can aggravate the problem.
Quercus robur's acorns, leaves, and buds provide homes for many different insects. Squirrels, chipmunks, and other small mammals, as well as birds, such as Eurasion Jays, eat the tree's acorns. Humans also use the tree itself as a shade tree as well as a source of heartwood, which is used for furniture-making and interior home building.
Most quercus roburs can live for centuries. Pruning the trees to allow for maximum growth can lengthen this projected lifespan as well as the tree's general health. The oldest English Oak trees in history have lived over one thousand years. The tree requires full sunlight and grows one foot (one-third meter) annually.
The tree is also considered a national emblem of England. Known as the Royal Oak, quercus robur was the tree in which King Charles II hid in during the English Civil War. Because of this status, the tree has been given its own holiday, Oak Apple Day, on May 29. The Royal Oak is also a popular name for pubs and Royal Navy warships in the country. A rich history surrounds the quercus robur, which was considered sacred by the Romans, Druids, and Greeks.