Holm Oak

Holm Oak

name = Holm Oak

image_width = 240px
image_caption = Holm Oak foliage; note pale undersides
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Fagales
familia = Fagaceae
genus = "Quercus"
sectio = "Quercus"
species = "Q. ilex"
binomial = "Quercus ilex"
binomial_authority = L.

The Holm Oak ("Quercus ilex"), also called Holly Oak or Evergreen Oak, is a large evergreen oak native to the Mediterranean region. It takes its name from , an obsolete name for holly. [http://www.2020site.org/trees/holm.html] In Spanish it is called "encina", in Portuguese "azinheira" and in French "chêne vert" or "yeuse". It is a member of the white oak section of the genus, with acorns that mature in a single summer.

It is a medium-size tree 20–27 m tall with finely square-fissured blackish bark and leathery evergreen leaves. The old leaves fall 1–2 years after new leaves emerge. The leaves are dark green above and pale whitish-grey with dense short hairs below. The leaf shape is variable, the adult leaves are entire, 4–8 cm long and 1–3 cm broad, while those on the lower branches of young trees are often larger (to 10 cm long), and are toothed or somewhat spiny. This is presumed to be for protection from grazing animals. In this, the foliage resembles that of the common European Holly "Ilex aquifolium", and this resemblance has led to its common and botanic names. The name "ilex" is originally the classical Latin name for the Holm Oak, but was later also used as a botanical genus name for the hollies. The flowers are catkins, produced in the spring; the fruit is an acorn, which matures in about 6 months.

There are two subspecies:
*"Quercus ilex" subsp. "ilex". Native in the north and east of the species' range, from northern Iberia and France east to Greece. Leaves narrow; acorns 2 cm long, bitter tasting.
*"Quercus ilex" subsp. "rotundifolia" (syn. "Q. rotundifolia, Q. ballota"). Native in the southwest of the species' range, in central and southern Iberia (Spain) and northwest Africa. Leaves broader; acorns 2.5 cm long, sweet tasting.

Cultivation and uses

The wood is hard and tough, used since ancient times for general construction purposes as pillars, tools, wagons, vessels, and wine casks. Used as well as firewood, or in charcoal manufacture.

The Holm Oak is one of the top three trees used in the establishment of truffle orchards, or truffieres. Truffles grow in an ectomycorrhizal association with the tree's roots.

The acorns, like those of the Cork Oak, are edible (toasted or as a flour), and are an important food for free-range pigs reared for serrano ham production. Boiled in water, the acorns can also be used as a medicinal treatment for injury dis-infections.

It can be clipped to form a tall hedge, and it is suitable for coastal windbreaks, in any well drained soil. It forms a picturesque rounded head, with pendulous low-hanging branches. Its size and solid evergreen character gives it an imposing architectural presence that makes it valuable in many urban and garden settings. While Holm Oak can be grown in much of maritime northwestern Europe, it is not tolerant of cold continental winters.



* [http://rbg-web2.rbge.org.uk/cgi-bin/nph-readbtree.pl/feout?FAMILY_XREF=&GENUS_XREF=Quercus&SPECIES_XREF=ilex&TAXON_NAME_XREF=&RANK= Flora Europaea: "Quercus ilex"]
*Bean, W. J. (1976). "Trees and shrubs hardy in the British Isles" 8th ed., revised. John Murray.
*Rushforth, K. (1999). "Trees of Britain and Europe". HarperCollins ISBN 0-00-220013-9.
*fr icon [http://jeanlouis.helardot.free.fr/page_chenes/quercus_ilex.htm Chênes: "Quercus ilex"]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Holm oak — Oak Oak ([=o]k), n. [OE. oke, ok, ak, AS. [=a]c; akin to D. eik, G. eiche, OHG. eih, Icel. eik, Sw. ek, Dan. eeg.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Bot.) Any tree or shrub of the genus {Quercus}. The oaks have alternate leaves, often variously lobed, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • holm-oak — holmˈ oak noun The evergreen oak (Quercus ilex), not unlike holly • • • Main Entry: ↑holm …   Useful english dictionary

  • holm oak — holm′ oak n. pln an evergreen oak, Quercus ilex, of E Europe, having foliage resembling that of the holly • Etymology: 1590–1600 …   From formal English to slang

  • holm oak — n. [see HOLM2] 1. a S European evergreen oak (Quercus ilex) of the beech family, with hollylike leaves 2. its wood …   English World dictionary

  • holm oak — noun 1. hard wood of the holm oak tree • Hypernyms: ↑oak 2. evergreen oak of southern Europe having leaves somewhat resembling those of holly; yields a hard wood • Syn: ↑holm tree, ↑holly leaved oak, ↑evergreen oak, ↑Quercus ilex …   Useful english dictionary

  • holm oak — akmeninis ąžuolas statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Bukinių šeimos dekoratyvinis, medieninis augalas (Quercus ilex), vedantis valgomas giles. Paplitęs Afrikos šiaurėje, Europos pietuose, Azijoje pietvkariuose. atitikmenys: lot. Quercus ilex… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • holm oak — noun Date: 1597 a southern European evergreen oak (Quercus ilex) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • holm oak — an evergreen oak, Quercus ilex, of southern Europe, having foliage resembling that of the holly. [1590 1600] * * * …   Universalium

  • holm oak — noun An evergreen tree, Quercus ilex, native to the Mediterranean region Syn: holly oak …   Wiktionary

  • holm oak — noun an evergreen oak with dark green glossy leaves. [Quercus ilex.] Origin ME: alt. of dialect hollin, from OE holen holly …   English new terms dictionary

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