Oaks are deciduous trees, rarely shrubs. There is only one other deciduous tree that is more common here, namely the common beech. There are over 400 species of oaks. Of these species, the pedunculate oak and the sessile oak are the most common.
Oak trees have elongated leaves that are somewhat reminiscent of leather in terms of firmness. At the edge of the leaves, you can see a kind of spikes or teeth that are round on the outside. In most species, the leaves fall off in autumn.
The fruits of the oak are acorns. They are poisonous to humans and many animals, but pigs, for example, can eat acorns. That’s why they used to drive the pigs into the forest in the fall for acorn fattening. The pigs for the best ham from Spain are still fed exclusively with acorns. This gives the ham its special taste.
People planted oaks mainly because the wood can withstand a lot, but is also easy to work with. It has been used, for example, to build ships, but also for barrels, seating furniture, stairs, or railway sleepers. Today you need oak wood for expensive parquet floors. Oak trunks are also cut into thin layers. It’s called veneer. Today, these layers are glued to furniture panels. The whole piece of furniture looks very elegant. However, only the outer layer is noble.
Oak trees are strong and live long. That is why many people considered them sacred, both the ancient religions and Christianity. In Germany, the oak is considered the typical tree of the country, the national tree.