One of the most loved trees in the UK and Ireland, with many examples dating back several hundred years, the Quercus Robur was one of the earlier species to colonise. It is known as the English Oak as well as the Common or Penduculate Oak. By around 4000 BC oak trees were well established across much of the UK, although they had probably started growing in the south as early as 9500 BC.
It is the most common tree species in the UK, particularly in southern and central parts. It is also prevalent in Europe and grows as far afield as South West Asia. The Sessile oak (Quercus Patraea) is also native to the UK and much of Europe, though it is less common and typically found in more hilly areas. The two species also hybridize.
Other, non-native, oak species such as the American Red Oak (Quercus Rubra) are also found in the UK – usually in arboretums and private gardens. The Red Oak can be both deciduous and evergreen. Holm Oak (Quercus Ilex) by contrast is always evergreen and is native to the Mediterranean. It has been naturalised in the UK and is one of the few evergreen oaks found growing in Britain – again, typically in parks and gardens.
When it comes to photographing oak trees I find myself drawn to the more mature specimens. Not least because of the extraordinary shapes and forms to be found where the trees have reached a certain level of maturity or, indeed, where they are growing in conditions that might require adaptation. As an aside, it’s also fairly humbling to consider just what some of these trees must have witnessed over several centuries of life...[vision_notification style="tip" font_size="20px"]Read the whole article inside issue 67.[/vision_notification]