12 Astonishing Facts About Oak Trees
One of the most commonly found trees on Earth, Oak trees are millions of years old. They played an essential role in the history of humans. Swipe through the pictures or portraits of ancient times, and you would find most dwellings, ships, and other tools built up of the strong wood from an oak tree. Even in present times, oak wood makes an indispensable raw material for various manufacturing industries.
Flooring materials, wine barrels, furniture items, cosmetic creams, and many more modern-day products are made using oak trees. In addition to this, oak tree leaves and acorns feed various birds and animals.
That’s not it. Here are 12 more astonishing facts about the resolute Oak trees.
Interesting Facts About Oak Trees
1. A mature oak tree grows up to a height of 148 feet
In contrast to huge trees like the Coast Redwoods, which would typically grow up to a height of 380 feet, Oak trees would attain a reasonable height of 148 feet.
2. Oak trees existed on Earth some 65 million years ago
Yes! A whopping 65 million years. Even over such a long time, Oak trees didn’t lose their identity, nor did they go extinct.
A prime reason for Oak trees not going extinct even after millions of years lies within their seeds that are protected by a hard outer shell. In addition to these, the acorns and leaves of an Oak tree are covered in tannic acid, which protects them against harmful fungi and insects.
3. Oak trees live up to a thousand years!
You must not call an Oak tree old till it's at least 700 years old. Till that age, they continue to produce acorns and grow.
Only after the age of 1000 years, the growth of an Oak tree comes to a halt, and some parts of the tree die and fall off eventually.
4. Each oak tree yields up to 10 million acorns during its lifetime
An acorn contains a single seed covered in a hard shell. They serve as a primary food source for several birds, including pigeons, ducks, woodpeckers, etc.
In addition to birds, rodents like mice, rats, squirrels, and sizeable mammals like deer, bears, and pigs also feed on acorns. However, as they contain gallic and tannic acids, acorns can be toxic for dogs and horses and can lead to kidney and gastrointestinal diseases among them.
5. There exist more than 600 species of oak trees
Oak trees are widely found in North America, particularly in Mexico. There you can find more than 160 species of Oak trees, out of which 109 are endemic.
Over 90 species of Oak trees are found in the US, whereas China populates more than 100 species of the Oak tree.
The Northern Red Oak, also known as Quercus Rubra, is a popular species among all. It is the state tree of New Jersey and has a rich red color.
6. The largest living oak tree stands in Mandeville, Louisiana
Not only the largest but also one of the oldest living oak trees, the oak tree in Mandeville is estimated to be around 1500 years old.
The owner of this giant tree, Carole Hendra Doby, named it the ‘Seven Sisters Oak’ for it is one of the seven sister oak trees. Another reason for this name is the fact that it has seven sets of branches emanating from its central trunk.
7. Oak barrels are used to process wines
As they say, the older the wine, the better it tastes.
If you have ever come across those large old wooden wine barrels, let us tell you, those are made of hand-picked oaks, mostly French and American Oaks.
Wine-aging in oak barrels has been a common practice of winemakers since the history of wine and is practiced today even. Before being bottled, wine is stored in barrels for a considerable time, which adds a unique flavor, smoke, and vanilla-like aroma to it.
8. If you like truffles, then thank the oaks
Truffles and oak tree roots go hand in hand. Quite interestingly, truffles do not grow in farms, but their growth process is a little mystical.
To grow truffles, farmers tend to plant oak trees as they create favorable conditions for the growth of truffles. That is one prime reason why truffles are way expensive than other ordinary fungi.
9. The population of oak trees are diminishing
At present, around 78 species of oak trees are exposed to the risk of extinction. This is mainly because farmers in Central America and Mexico are cutting down oak trees to open up grazing land for coffee plantations and other cattle purposes.
The wide usage of chopped oaks for the manufacturing of coal and as a construction material is another reason why oak trees are decreasing in number.
10. Only one in 10,000 acorns grow up into an oak tree
Oak trees take up to 50 years before they begin producing acorns.
Once they are mature, they can produce up to 10,000 acorns. However, most of these are consumed by animals or are fertilized by the ground.
Estimates suggest that only one acorn among ten thousand survive to grow in an oak tree. That being said, a mature oak tree reproduces a single oak tree each year.
11. Vikings constructed their ships out of oak
Oak wood is strong, dense, and solid, which makes it a favorable choice for many construction projects. In ancient times, Vikings used to make their ships using oak wood and sometimes, pine trees too.
Also, until the 19th century, the famous British royal navy ships were handcrafted out of oaks. Even today, oaks are widely used by carpenters for making furniture and veneers.
12. Oak trees are worshipped
For many centuries, particularly in Europe, people associated oak trees with their mythological gods and worshipped them. Druids were also of the same view; they would get married under the widespread branches and healthy acorns of an oak tree, believing that doing so would help them live happily and healthily.