Oaks are hardwood trees, the wood commonly used in oak furniture and flooring. The bark of Quercus suber, or Cork oak, is used to produce wine stoppers (corks). This species grows in the Mediterranean Sea region, with Portugal, Spain, Algeria and Morocco producing most of the world's supply. Some European and American oak species are used to make barrels where wine and other spirits are aged; the barrels, which are in some cases charred before use, contribute to the taste.
The term oak can be used as part of the common name of any of several hundred species of trees and shrubs in the genus Quercus, and some related genera, notably Cyclobalanopsis and Lithocarpus . The genus is native to the northern hemisphere, and includes deciduous and evergreen species extending from cold latitudes to tropical Asia and America.
Of the North American oaks, the most prized of the red oak group for lumber, all of which is marketed as red oak regardless of the species of origin, is that of the Northern red oak, Quercus rubra (a.k.a. Q. borealis).
The standard for the lumber of the white oak group, all of which is marketed as white oak, is the White oak, Quercus alba. White oak is often used for the construction of barrels for aging wine. The wood of Quercus robur, the English oak and Quercus petraea, the Sessile oak, is extensively used in Europe.
The bark of the White Oak is dried and used in medical preparations. Oak bark is also rich in tannin, and is used by tanners for tanning leather. Acorns are used for making flour or roasted for acorn coffee.
It has a pale brown hard wood. Depending on size and quality it is used for sawn timber, veneer, building timber, hardwood pulp, poles, fencing, firewood and charcoal. Coppicing of woodland used to produce stakes. Food and drink - Tannin used to be produced from bark for tanning leather. Acorns formerly used to feed pigs.
Oak Tree Identification
Oak trees have spirally arranged leaves , with a lobed margin in many species, though far from all, with some having serrated leaves or entire leaves with a smooth margin. The flowers are catkins, produced in spring. The fruit is a acorn, borne in a cup-like structure known as a cupule; each acorn contains one (rarely two or three) seeds, and takes 6-18 months to mature, depending on species. The "live oaks" (oaks with evergreen leaves) are not a distinct group, instead with their members scattered among the sections below.
- Oak versus Pine Furniture comparisons.
- Read more about wood here.
- Read about furniture care advice.
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