Sessile Oak

Quercus petraea

Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea)

Also called the ‘Durmast Oak’, it is a sturdy deciduous tree, with long radiating branches around a taller more upright trunk compared to the Pedunculate Oak. It can grow up to height of 40m (131ft). The leaves have five to six lobes, and are dark green and hairless above, with yellow stalks 1-2.5cm long. They lack the auricles (earlike projections), which the Pedunculate Oak have at the base of the leaf. The acorns are long and egg-shaped, and are stalkless, fixed directly to the twig in small clusters. This oak maybe confused with the Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur), which has acorns on stalks, and leaves with auricles and no stalks. The flowers appear as catkins in May and are seen through to mid-June. The Sessile Oak can live for up to and over 1,000 years.

Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea) leaf

Found in woodland and parkland, where it supports an abundance of wildlife. A native species which is common and widespread in western parts of Britain, especially Wales where it has been designated its national tree and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Welsh Oak’. It is called the ‘Cornish Oak’ in Cornwall, where it is also considered to be their national tree.

Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea) flowers

The Sessile Oak readily crosses with the Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur) to form Quercus x rosacea (= Q. petraea x Q. robur)  Bechst. This large hybrid oak tree is first described in 1909 and can be difficult to identify because of its variable nature.

Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea) acorns

It used to be heavily coppiced for fuel and its bark was used for tanning. Also used in the making of barrels and casks.

Photographs taken May and September 2013, Warley Woods, Staffordshire. Camera Nikon Coolpix P500. © Pete Hillman 2013.

Beech Trees of Warley Woods

Common Beech - Fagus sylvatica

I have always known Warley Woods in Smethwick since I was a young child. It was a relatively short distance from our house, and my Mom used to take me and my sister there for walks where we would see squirrels scurrying up the tall trees. Thinking about it now, I suppose this may well be one of those things in life which got me hooked on nature and wildlife.

Veteran Beech, Warley Woods

Warley Woods has a lot of history, and it is predominately made up of beech trees (Common Beech – Fagus sylvatica). They rise tall like giants into the sky, but a couple of other trees have stretched outwards with huge limbs which look like they want to give you a welcome hug – trees hugging the tree huggers lol! Anyway, one of these beech trees was a veteran beech, maybe over 200 years old at the time the photo was taken back in 2010. That is the one with the moss laden branch in the image below. Sadly, on the 19th August 2013, this huge monumental beech was felled after it had died.

Warley Woods

Photographs taken June 2010. Warley Woods, Smethwick.