Botanical Name: Quercus alba
- English: White Oak
- Also, known as: English oak, The Charter Oak, European oak, Tanner's Bark, and Tanner’s oak
Habitat: Central and eastern North America
Harvested: Wild or cultivated
Parts Used: Tree bark
Quercus alba, is a large, deciduous tree grows to 50-80' tall in cultivation and up to 100' in the wild, can live for several hundred years, with scaly, gray bark. White oak grows over much of eastern North America and is an important hardwood timber tree. Mature leaves are 4-9 inches long and 2-4 inches wide; they are broadly elliptic or obovate in outline and pinnatifid with five to nine pairs of deep to medium lobes with round tips and round sinuses. The upper surface of mature leaves is medium green and glabrous, while the lower surface. Leaves emerge pinkish in spring but mature to dark green. Variable fall color ranges from uninteresting browns to quality shades of dark red. They turn red-purple in the fall before falling off. Because White Oak is monoecious, separate male and female flowers are produced on the same tree. Male flowers are produced in greenish-yellow catkins about 2-3 inches long that develop near the tips of last year's branches. Individual male flowers are 1/8 inch across or less, consisting of an irregularly lobed calyx and several stamens. Greenish red female flowers are produced at the tips of new shoots on very short peduncles. Individual female flowers are 1/8 inch across or less, consisting of a pubescent calyx that surrounds an ovoid ovary with 3 stigmata. The flowers are cross-pollinated by the wind. Fertile female flowers are replaced by acorns that become mature by the fall. Acorns from the white oak are 1.2 to 2.5 centimeters long. It takes one year for acorns to be fully grown, and they drop off in the fall once they are ripe. Acorns are valuable though the inconsistent source of wildlife food. More than 180 different kinds of birds and mammals use oak acorns as food; among them are squirrels, blue jays, crows, red-headed woodpeckers, deer, turkey, quail, mice, chipmunks, ducks, and raccoons. The root system consists of a taproot and widely spreading lateral roots.
White oak is the Maryland, Connecticut and Illinois State Tree. Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for oak trees. The species name of alba means white in reference to the light ash-gray bark. The white oak's bark is whitish to pale gray, usually with long scales. Wood from the white oak is waterproof, so it's used to make barrels for storing liquids. White oak’s wood is strong and durable for staves for barrels, lumber, flooring, and interior woodwork. White oak is also an excellent ornamental tree because of its broad round crown, dense foliage, and purplish-red to violet purple fall color.
How to use:
Decoctions are suitable for roots, barks, large seeds & berries, and other dense material. The simple way to make decoction is, in a saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of dried herbs to 1 cup of water. Bring the water to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-60 minutes. Strain and squeeze out as much as liquid as possible and enjoy!
- You can sweeten your herbal decoctions with a bit of honey, natural fruit juice, stevia leaves powder and or licorice root powder.
You should consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
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This information has not been evaluated by Health Canada.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.