oak


oak
oaklike, adj.
/ohk/, n.
1. any tree or shrub belonging to the genus Quercus, of the beech family, bearing the acorn as fruit.
2. the hard, durable wood of such a tree, used in making furniture and in construction.
3. the leaves of this tree, esp. as worn in a chaplet.
4. anything made of the wood of this tree, as an item of furniture, a door, etc.
5. sport one's oak, Brit. (of a university student) to indicate that one is not at home to visitors by closing the outer door of one's lodgings.
[bef. 900; ME ook, OE ac; c. D eik, G Eiche]

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I
Any of about 450 species of ornamental and timber trees and shrubs that make up the genus Quercus in the beech family, found throughout temperate climates.

Oaks are deciduous trees that bear spring catkins (male flowers) and spikes (female flowers) on the same tree. The leaves have lobed, toothed, or smooth margins. The fruit is the acorn. They are hardy and long-lived shade trees. White oaks have smooth leaves and rapidly germinating sweet acorns; red, or black, oaks have bristle-tipped leaves and bitter, hairy acorns. Red-and white-oak lumber is used in construction, flooring, furniture, millwork, barrel making, and the production of crossties, structural timbers, and mine props. The genus includes many ornamentals and natural hybrids.

Black oak (Quercus velutina)

Walter Dawn
II
(as used in expressions)

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tree
 any of about 450 species of ornamental and timber trees and shrubs constituting the genus Quercus in the beech family (Fagaceae), distributed throughout the North Temperate Zone and at high altitudes in the tropics.

      Many plants commonly called “oak” are not Quercus species—e.g., African oak, Australian oak, bull oak, Jerusalem oak, poison oak, river oak, she-oak, silky oak, tanbark oak, Tasmanian oak, and tulip oak.

      Quercus species are characterized by alternate, simple, deciduous or evergreen leaves with lobed, toothed, or entire margins. The male flowers are borne in pendent yellow catkins, appearing with or after the leaves. Female flowers occur on the same tree, singly or in two- to many-flowered spikes; each flower has a husk of overlapping scales that enlarges to hold the fruit, or acorn, which matures in one to two seasons.

      Oaks can be separated into three groups, sometimes considered subgenera: white oaks (white oak) (Leucobalanus) and red (red oak) or black oaks (black oak) (Erythrobalanus) have the scales of the acorn cups spirally arranged; in the third group (Cyclobalanus) the scales are fused into concentric rings. White oaks have smooth, non-bristle-tipped leaves, occasionally with glandular margins. Their acorns mature in one season, have sweet-tasting seeds, and germinate within a few days after their fall. Red or black oaks have bristle-tipped leaves, hairy-lined acorn shells, and bitter fruits, which mature at the end of the second growing season.

      In North America several oaks are of ornamental landscape value, including pin oak (q.v.; Q. palustris) and northern red oak (Q. rubra). white oak (q.v.; Q. alba) and bur oak (q.v.; Q. macrocarpa) form picturesque oak groves locally in the Midwest. Many oaks native to the Mediterranean area have economic value: galls produced on the twigs of the Aleppo oak (Q. infectoria) are a source of Aleppo tannin, used in ink manufacture; commercial cork is obtained from the bark of the cork oak (Q. suber), and the tannin-rich kermes oak (Q. coccifera) is the host of the kermes insect, once harvested for a dye contained in its body fluids.

      Two eastern Asian oaks also are economically valuable: the Mongolian oak (Q. mongolica) provides useful timber, and the Oriental oak (Q. variabilis) is the source of a black dye as well as a popular ornamental. Other cultivated ornamentals are the Armenian, or pontic, oak (Q. pontica), chestnut-leaved oak (Q. castaneaefolia), golden oak (Q. alnifolia), Holm, or holly, oak (Q. ilex), Italian oak (Q. frainetto), Lebanon oak (Q. libani), Macedonian oak (Q. trojana), and Portuguese oak (Q. lusitanica). Popular Asian ornamentals include the blue Japanese oak (Q. glauca), daimyo oak (Q. dentata), Japanese evergreen oak (Q. acuta), and sawtooth oak (Q. acutissima). The English oak, a timber tree native to Eurasia and northern Africa, is cultivated in other areas of the world as an ornamental.

      Acorns (acorn) provide food for small game animals and are used to fatten swine and poultry. Red- and white-oak lumber is used in construction, flooring, furniture, millwork, cooperage, and the production of crossties, structural timbers, and mine props.

      Oaks can be propagated easily from acorns and grow well in rich, moderately moist soil or dry, sandy soil. Many grow again from stump sprouts. They are hardy and long-lived but are not shade-tolerant and may be injured by leaf-eating organisms or oak wilt fungus.

      The taxonomy of the genus Quercus is confusing because of the many natural hybrids.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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 staminate… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Oak — ist die Bezeichnung für: Flughafen Oakland in den Vereinigten Staaten (IATA Code) Oltener Aktionskomitee einen Vorgänger der Programmiersprache Java den russischen Luftfahrtkonzern OAK oAK bezeichnet: orale Antikoagulation Oak bezeichnet in der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • OAK — (Heb. אַלּוֹן), the main trees of Israel s natural groves and forests. The three species which grow there have in common their strong and hard wood and all attain a great height and reach a very old age. The Hebrew name, allon, means strong (Amos …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Oak — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. OAK ou Oak peuvent avoir plusieurs significations : OAK est un consortium aéronautique russe. OAK est le code AITA de l aéroport international d… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • oak — [ōk] n. [ME oke < OE ac, akin to Ger eiche < IE base * aig , oak > Gr aigilōps, a kind of oak] 1. any of a genus (Quercus) of large hardwood trees and bushes of the beech family, bearing acorns 2. the wood of an oak 3. any of various… …   English World dictionary

  • oak — oak; oak·en; oak·land; oak·land·er; oak·ling; …   English syllables

  • oak|en — «OH kuhn», adjective. 1. made of oak wood: »the old oaken bucket. 2. Figurative. sturdy as an oak; solid: »... a splendidly oaken characterization (Dan Sullivan). ... the family farmer an oaken citizen (John Kenneth Galbraith). 3. consisting of… …   Useful english dictionary

  • oak — [ ouk ] noun * count a large tree that can live for a very long time and produces small hard fruits called acorns: an ancient oak a. uncount wood from an oak tree: a solid oak table …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Oak — Oak, NE U.S. village in Nebraska Population (2000): 60 Housing Units (2000): 36 Land area (2000): 0.148115 sq. miles (0.383617 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.148115 sq. miles (0.383617 sq. km) …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Oak, NE — U.S. village in Nebraska Population (2000): 60 Housing Units (2000): 36 Land area (2000): 0.148115 sq. miles (0.383617 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.148115 sq. miles (0.383617 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • oak — (n.) O.E. ac oak tree, from P.Gmc. *aiks (Cf. O.N. eik, O.Fris., M.Du. ek, Du. eik, O.H.G. eih, Ger. Eiche), of uncertain origin with no certain cognates outside Germanic. The usual Indo European base for oak (*derwo /*dreu ) has become Modern… …   Etymology dictionary


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