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Oak - a mighty strong tree, a symbol of courage, fire, lightning and princely power. Oak is one of the most beloved and revered among European nations tree. Under the sacred Oaks, all the most important events took place among the Slavs - meetings, wedding ceremonies, courts. In the sacred Oak groves the oldest and most respected trees were surrounded by a fence that only priests could enter.
In prehistoric times, almost half of Europe's forests were oak groves. Man famously dealt with this wonderful tree. First he chopped and burned Oak, freeing the land under arable land, and then chopped for firewood and building materials. Oak, for its trouble, was perfectly suited for both. The result is sad - Oaks have become ten times smaller (about 3% of all European forests).
Where does Oak grow?
Oak widely distributed in Western Europe and the European part of Russia. It reaches in northwestern Russia to Finland. In the eastern direction, the northern limit of the distribution of Oak gradually descends to the south, and, approaching the Ural Range, it decreases to 57 ° and somewhat south. The Urals is the eastern border of the range of English oak.
What does Oak look like?
Oak is not difficult to distinguish from other trees by its mighty nature.
Oak is a large, usually tree with a mighty crown and a powerful trunk. It reaches a height of 20-40 m. It can live up to 2000 years, but usually lives 300-400 years. The growth in height at the Oak stops at the age of 100-200 years, the increase in thickness, although insignificant, lasts a lifetime.
Crohn Oak thick, sprawling, with thick branches.
Oak bark thick, strong, wrinkled, dark color in an adult tree.
Oak Leaves oblong with large rounded teeth.
Slowly Oak leaves the leaves - sometimes only by the beginning of June. And sometimes - from the second attempt, when the first leaves are eaten by caterpillars.
Oak Flowers collected in long hanging earrings 2-3 cm long.
Acorns Oak usually oblong, grow from 1.5 to 5 cm. In summer, acorns are green, in autumn they turn yellow and fall. To the touch, the acorns are smooth and neat, which makes them want to be assembled, especially for children. Caps from acorns are also beautiful. Inside the oak acorn there are 2 slices of yellowish or reddish color, bitter in taste.
Acorns, fruits of the Oak, sit in special "glasses" - pluses. Boars and domestic pigs like to feast on acorns, so already in the Middle Ages people grazed thousands of herds of pigs in oak forests. In the fable of Ivan Krylov "Pig under the oak"An ungrateful pig, having eaten acorns, begins to undermine the roots of the tree, harming him. From a biological point of view, the fabulist is wrong: breaking the soil and destroying pests, pigs brought only benefits to the oak forests.
The healing properties of Oak
Of great medical importanceOak bark, since it contains a significant amount (up to 20%) of tannins, as well as flavonoids, pectin, tannin, starch, mucus and other natural antiseptics. A decoction of bark, due to its tanning properties, has a strong astringent and anti-inflammatory effect.
Most of all, in medicine, it is appreciated and used.Oak barkespecially young. It is used mainly as an external agent, sometimes internally, in the form of infusions, decoctions, tea.
Oak Bark and Leaves possessastringent, anti-inflammatory, antihelminthic, soothing, hemostatic actions.
Flask of Oak Bark take with diseases of the stomach, diarrhea, gastritis, colic, inflammation of the intestine, colitis, ulcerative colitis, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver disease, spleen. Warm infusion improves digestion.
Oak Bark Broth and leaves (1:10) are taken for kidney diseases, kidney bleeding, bloody urine, with frequent urination (in small doses), with inflammation of the urinary tract.
Oak leaf infusion used for bedwetting (enuresis). Broths are also used for rinsing with inflammation of the oral mucosa, bad breath, with inflammation of the tongue, lotions with bedsores, frostbite of hands and feet (baths), burns, wounds, skin inflammation, eczema, scrofula.
When sweating feet, make baths from a decoction of the bark (2 tbsp.spoons per 1 glass of water, boil for 1-2 minutes, insist until cool), and also add crushed bark into socks for a day.
Coffee from Oak acorns: the acorns must be peeled, boiled, drained immediately, then coarsely chopped, sliced, and fry until browned. Allow to cool and grind to a powder on a coffee grinder. Brew like coffee, or can be used as a food supplement. Such a drink is given to children with diseases of the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Oak Diseases and Pests
One of the most dangerous Oak diseases is an powdery mildew. A characteristic white coating appears on the leaves, as if they were doused with soapy water. An illness seen at an early stage is easily stopped by spraying with one percent solution of copper sulfate.
Leaf-eating insects and stem pests such as the big Oak barbel, the Green oak leaflet, and the fruit moth, are dangerous for Oak.
Oak. Interesting Facts
On the leaves of the Oak you can see rosy balls, as ifsmall applescalled galls or ink nuts. Galls on oak appear due to insects - Nutcracker. They lay an egg in the leaf tissue, and the substances secreted by the larva cause the growth of tissues, resulting in the formation of a gall, and the larva receives a safe shelter.
Oak, defending itself against the parasite, lays in the walls of the gall verya large number of tanninswhich with iron sulfate form the black paint used in ink making, those who wrote A.S. Pushkin (!) and his contemporaries, by the way, are very persistent and durable.
Some Oaks live for over a thousand years, reaching enormous sizes.
Oak and acorn - distribution and role in nature
Oak is a tree or shrub from the beech family. There are at least 600 species of this genus on the planet. Most of them are large and long-lived trees.
Oak forests and woodlands are concentrated mainly in Europe. Oak is a forest-forming species in western North America. Several species grow in the southern hemisphere.
In Russia, the range of species of this genus is disjunctive. Oak forests grow in the European part of Russia, mainly in the zone of southern broad-leaved and mixed forests. Most of Russian Asia is the taiga, where there are no conditions for the growth of broad-leaved species. And only in the south of the Far East, and more precisely in Primorye and Amur Region, does oak form pure oak forests, and is also part of mixed coniferous-deciduous forests.
In addition, oaks grow in North China and Korea. Once upon a time, oak forests were in Transbaikalia, but fires and logging almost completely destroyed the species that grew here - Mongolian oak.
Oak has a whole range of advantages in the formation of forest communities. Among them, three main ones need to be distinguished:
- the ability of the acorn to germinate quickly and form an shoot and root,
- the formation of huge trees that supply acorns with a long trophic chain and a large territory,
- the ability of young oaks to recover quickly from damage.
Oak grows in the first year of its life very quickly due to the huge supply of nutrients in the stomach. In the first months of its life, a tree can very quickly form not only a ground shoot, but also a powerful root. If the young trunk is damaged, the tree does not die, and the next year it grows back from the root.
Oaks grown from an acorn and not injured at an early age usually live long and grow in giant trees. Oaks, damaged in the first years of their lives, show miracles of heroism, each time growing again, but you do not have to expect large sizes from them, these will be thin-bent curved trees or shrubs.
So the answer to the question of what the oak looks like is not always unambiguous. It can be a mighty sprawling tree, a curved thin-bore wounded tree or shrub, growing to no more than 3 m.
The structure and composition of the acorn
The description of the oak fruit is very simple. This is a single-seeded dry syncarp nut with a leathery and hard pericarp. In all species of oaks, it is attached to the metatarsus, which is similar to a hat, but represents fused bracts and reduced inflorescences. All oaks have only one nut attached to the metatarsus.
All acorns have an elongated rounded shape. The average length of the fetus without the metatarsus is 3.5 cm. The width of the acorns ranges from 1 to 1.5 cm.
Acorn is a late fruit. Its growth and maturation occur in early August and continue until the end of September. In October and November, acorns finally mature and fall.
Usually acorns do not need winter rest, but sprout in the same autumn. In this state, they winter under the snow. This allows the seedlings in early spring to grow very quickly. By autumn, a full-fledged oak is formed with a root and shoot length of more than a meter.
Acorn is not in vain considered a breadwinner. Its calorie content is 387 kcal. The composition of oak walnut contains:
- vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, D, E, K,
- trace elements: potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus,
- macronutrients: iron, copper, zinc, manganese.
Fresh acorns taste slightly bitter. This is due to the presence of quercetin - flavonol with antioxidant properties. Thanks to quartzetin, acorns are used in the fight against sclerosis, as well as as an antitumor, antiallergic and regenerative agent.
Acorn lover - Squirrel
Acorns have great nutritional value. Not surprisingly, in oak forests there are usually a lot of wild boars, bears, squirrels and other hazelnut lovers. And in the cedar-deciduous forests of the Far East, two breadwinners - cedar and oak - contain sables, two species of bears, wild boars, squirrels, chipmunks, badgers. If we trace the trophic chain, it turns out that the oak and cedar feed tigers, wolves, raccoon dogs, etc.
Oak Nut Flour
People are accustomed to the fact that the utilitarian benefit of oak is only wood. The combination of durability, reliability and processing capabilities make oak wood really very popular in various sectors of the economy. However, the role of oak in human life is not limited to boards and logs.
Once upon a time, people who lived among oak forests gathered acorns and made flour from them. This is what the North American Indians did, and in Korea, acorns are still part of the national cuisine.
In Russia, acorns are used in food only in two versions - in the form of flour and a drink that resembles coffee.
The most time-consuming process is the release of the contents of the nut from the shell. However, there is a simple way - to expose acorns to mild heat treatment. Oak nuts need to be put on a cast-iron frying pan or just a sheet of iron, quickly heat acorns, constantly turning over. As soon as the shell begins to crack, acorns must be removed from the fire. They should be cleaned immediately hot.
After that, you need to select only light nuts, cut them into several parts, pour cold water and leave for 2 days. Every day, water must be changed at least 3 times. This removes the taste of bitterness characteristic of acorns.
The last water is drained, and in fresh water, acorns need to be heated and boiled for about 5 minutes. After this, the nuts need to be slightly dried, and then grind in a meat grinder. In such a crushed form they are easy to dry on a baking sheet.
Ground acorns can be the basis for grinding into flour. In addition, they can be added to pies to give the dough an unusual taste. You can bake bread from this flour. Just for this, in 400 g of flour from the acorn, you need to add 100 g of wheat flour.
Drinks from oak fruits contribute to:
- lower blood sugar
- normalization of the cardiovascular system,
- reduce the frequency of onset of arrhythmias,
- lowering high blood pressure,
- reducing the number of pathogens,
- increase potency
- treating diarrhea
- elimination of enuresis,
- improving reproductive functions in women,
- relief from colitis and indigestion,
- treatment of diseases of the bronchopulmonary system.
Acorn drinks can be drunk instead of coffee: in taste and appearance they resemble this famous drink. There is no caffeine in acorn coffee, but there are plenty of healthy ingredients.
To prepare the classic version of coffee from acorns, you need to grind the peeled fruits in a coffee grinder, and then fry in a dry frying pan, stirring all the time. The taste of acorn coffee depends on the degree of roasting. The drink is prepared in the same way as coffee. The optimal concentration of gastric milling - 1 tsp. into a glass of water.
You can add sugar to taste, honey, milk, cognac, liquor to the drink. The last two ingredients are added not only to give the drink a special aroma, but also to expand the vessels.
This drink really tastes like coffee, and with the addition of milk you can feel the taste of cocoa. A light tonic effect is added to all the delights of such a drink. So the raw material for coffee is growing not only in the tropics.
Acorn-based therapeutic drinks are used for a range of diseases:
- Acorn Juice with Honey. Fruits need to be picked from trees in a green kind. They are peeled, ground in a meat grinder, squeezed juice, and then mixed with honey in proportions of 1 to 1. Take this tool before meals 4 times a day for 2 tbsp. l Indications for use: anemia, uterine bleeding, nervous disorders.
- Toasted Acorns Infusion. The fruits are peeled and then roasted in the oven at a temperature of 175 ° C. For uniform toasting, the nuts need to be stirred occasionally. After the acorns turn slightly red, they need to be ground into powder. 2 tbsp. l such a powder should be filled with 300 ml of boiling water. After cooling, the drink is filtered and taken 1 tbsp. l before meals. To improve the taste, you can add milk and honey to it. This remedy must be taken for a long time to treat tuberculosis.
- A decoction of acorns is used for cystitis. Shredded fruits in an amount of 1 tbsp. l pour a glass of hot water, bring to a boil over low heat, cook for 10 minutes. The cooled broth is filtered and drunk uniformly in small portions for one day.
Thus, acorns are a wonderful source of nutrients that have healing power. They feed the forest inhabitants and humans. And most importantly - they are the key to the constant renewal of wonderful oak forests.
The most famous species
Most oaks are healthy, dense trees. Many species of this genus are among the so-called evergreens, that is, they are equipped with leathery leaves that remain on the plant for several years. In others, the leaves fall annually or, drying up, remain on the tree and are destroyed gradually. Most evergreen species have whole leaves, others have lobed. Monoecious flowers: male and female on the same plant. Female flowers form small bunches or earrings, male flowers are collected hanging or upright, often long earrings. Flower covers are simple, poorly developed, but at the base of female flowers, a lot of scaly leaves are formed, located on a ringed roller, which is nothing more than an overgrown receptacle.
Flower formula: ∗ P (6 - 8) A 6 - 10 G 0 < displaystyle ast P _ <(6-8)> , A_ <6-10> , G_ <0>> and ∗ P 3 + 3 A 0 G (3 _) < displaystyle ast P_ <3 + 3> , A_ <0> , G _ <(< underline <3>>) >>.
When the fruit ripens, this roller, along with its scales, grows even more and in this way a characteristic saucer is formed - a plus, which encircles the oak fruit, or acorn from below. In different types of oak, the size of acorns and the shape of the scales are extremely diverse: in some, the scales are very small, in others, like in Hungarian oak, almost a centimeter long, they are turned away, etc. The ovary of oak flowers almost always triple-nests, but grows during ripening only one nest results in a single-seeded fruit with a strong leathery pericarp, which is classified as a nut-like fruit.