Quercus faginea, Portuguese oak

A great all-purpose tree for drier and poorer sites across Southern Australia, and perhaps, this tough specie, is the most useful farm tree available.

This deciduous oak grows across the Iberian Peninsula and at altitude in North Africa in Morocco and Algeria up to 1900m. Of a variable form, the leaves can be similar to lobed oaks but stiffer in form or smaller, elliptical with pointed margins. The form offered here (subsp. broteroi also known as Q. tlemcenensis) is of the larger, stiffer, flat leaved type of 5cm in length with lobed margins.

In their native habitat these oaks form galls from the gall wasp, which were exploited for ink.

Note, this tree was sold in Australia as Q. lusitanica, but is not that tree, which in this country was confused with Q. canariensis.

For the farmer or gardener, Portuguese oak offers many benefits:

  • golden autumn foliage
  • drought hardiness
  • moderately-deep shade
  • grey undersides of leaves
  • hardiness to zone 7 (-17C)
  • grows in all soils; prefers moist calcareous profiles
  • acorns can be eaten by pigs
  • bark is thick, brown and furrowed
  • grows up to 20m and a trunk to 80cm
  • timber can be used for fuel and construction
  • grass grows up to the bases in spring; a benefit for graziers

 

Tree shape

Spreading and rounded

Mature size

Large 12-20m

Growth rate

Moderate

Use

Shade, timber, carbon store, firewood, ornamental

Soil type

All soils, good in lime soils

Water

Drought hardy

Foliage

Oboval with shallow lobes or small teeth on the margins

Origin

SW Europe and North Africa