Tree Lore - The Oak: Quercus robur is a large deciduous tree, with circumference of grand oaks from 4m to 12m.
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Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Tree Lore - The Oak

Tree Lore - The Oak

Tree Lore - The Oak

Quercus robur is a large deciduous tree, with circumference of grand oaks from 4m to 12m (13 ft -39 ft). Oak leaves are lobed and nearly sessile, flowering takes place in mid spring, and acorns ripen by the following autumn. It is a long-lived tree, with a large wide spreading crown of rugged branches. The Bowthorpe Oak in Lincolnshire is estimated to be 1,000 years old making it the oldest in the UK.

The oak tree is the national tree for England, it's origin from when the future Charles II of England escaped the Roundhead army by hiding in an oak tree near Boscobel House, after the Battle of Worcester in September 1651.

Oak Apple Day

Oak Apple Day or Royal Oak Day was a formal public holiday celebrated in England on 29 May to commemorate the restoration of the English monarchy, in May 1660. In some parts of the country the day is still celebrated and has also been known as Shick Shack Day, Oak and Nettle Day, Ooh look, it's the King!, or Arbor Tree Day. Traditional celebrations to commemorate the event often entailed the wearing of oak apples or sprigs of oak leaves.

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn."
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Oak in Mythology

In Greek mythology, the oak is the tree sacred to Zeus, king of the gods. In Zeus's oracle in Dodona, Epirus, the sacred oak was the centerpiece of the precinct, and the priests would divine the pronouncements of the god by interpreting the rustling of the oak's leaves.

In Norse mythology, the oak was sacred to the thunder god, Thor. Thor's Oak was a sacred tree of the Germanic Chatti tribe. According to legend, during the Christianisation the oak was replaced by the Fir as a sacred tree.

"Thrice on my bossy shield I struck my spear;
And thrice a ghost's shrill voice was heard in air;
The sacred oaks that skirt this sloping wood
Are dead--revive their withered roots with blood;
The blood of foes shall fertilze the plain,
and Odin's spirt feast on heaps of slain.
Hark! now I hear his mighty voice from far--
Rise, sons of Odin, and prepare for war."

The Oak Tree is one of the many of the trees found in Celtic countries that were thought to have magical properties. The ancient geographer Strabo reported that the important sacred grove and meeting-place of the Galatian Celts of Asia Minor, Drunemeton, was filled with oaks. Pliny the Elder describes a festival on the sixth day of the moon where the druids climbed an oak tree, cut a bough of mistletoe, and sacrificed two white bulls as part of a fertility rite. It is said that the druids made their wands from only three woods: yew, oak, and apple.

"No murd'ring axes let 'em feel.
Nor violate the Groves with impious steel...
Avenging deities inhabit there:
For poets tell how wounded Oaks have bled...
Denouncing terrors from their awful head.
And thence of old religiously rever'd,
Their ancient groves our pious fathers spar'd."
- R Rapin - De Hortorgum (1665)

In Welsh tradition Gwydion and Math use the flower of oak with broom to fashion the beautiful Blodeuwedd. In Arthurian mythology Merlin is imprisoned in an oak tree in the Breton forest of Brocéliande by Viviane/Nimiane (the Lady of the Lake). In both British and Irish fairy lore, the oak is one of three magical woods, along with ash and thorn.


1578 Dodoens Harball: These say that the wood of Misselto, that groweth upon the Okes, and not upon any other tree, is very good against the falling euyll.

1584 Discoverie of Wichcraft XII: That neither the hunters nor their dogs maie be bewitched, the cleave an oken branch, and both they and their dogs passe over it.

1776 Pennant Tour in Scotland: A Highlander, in order to protect himself from any harms apprehended from the Fairy trible, will draw around himself a circle with a sapling of the oak.

1879 Herefordshire Time: May-dew... gathered under an oak was regarded as especially potent.

1710 Athenian Oracle: If a fly be found in an Oak-apple, 'tis believ'd that the year ensuing will be troubled with wars... If a spider.. then a pestilence is fear'd.. if a small worm.. plenty is prognosticated.

In Magic

The Oak is associated with spells for protection, strength, success and stability, healing, fertility, health, money, potency, and good luck. Oak trees have also been associated with the 'Wild Hunt', which is led by Herne in England and by Wodin in Germany. Oak galls, known as Serpent Eggs, were used in magical charms. Acorns gathered at night held the greatest fertility powers. The Druids and Priestesses listened to the rustling oak leaves and the wrens in the trees for divinatory messages. Burning oak leaves purifies the atmosphere.

The Oak and the Ogham

Dair is the Irish name of the seventh letter of the Ogham alphabet, meaning oak. It can be written either as a horizontal line with two upward facing strokes or as a vertical line with two horizontal lines

Dair - The Oka Tree

Month: Seventh month of the Celtic Tree calendar, June 10th - July 7th
Element: Water
Symbolism: Strength & Endurance, Generosity & Protection, Justice & Nobility, Honesty & Bravery
Colour: Gold
Deity: The Green Man, Zues

Tree Lore - The Oak Comments And Ratings

Current Rating 3.67/5 stars
[3 Votes]


Oak is I think, my favourite tree. A lovely piece, full of information.

Posted by: wychiewoman on 22/12/2014 14:08:00


Love the mighty Oak Tree! Very informative.

Posted by: Creiddylad on 29/12/2014 22:10:00


The oak is also the symbol of the old year according to Robert Graves. It is the last tree to lose its leaves, they hang on till around the solstice, and this is I think a reason why

Posted by: hannah on 30/12/2014 11:19:00


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