Holm oak

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Holm oak
Holm oak (Quercus ilex) in Spain

Holm oak ( Quercus ilex ) in Spain

Eurosiden I
Order : Beech-like (Fagales)
Family : Beech family (Fagaceae)
Genre : Oak trees ( Quercus )
Type : Holm oak
Scientific name
Quercus ilex

The holm oak ( Quercus ilex ) is a species of the beech family (Fagaceae). The botanical spelling stone-oak emphasizes the belonging to the genus of oaks ( Quercus ). Within the genus, the species belongs to the section of oak trees ( Cerris ), to which the cork oak also belongs.


As an evergreen tree (hence also green oak ), the holm oak reaches stature heights between 5 and 20 meters, sometimes up to 28 meters with a trunk diameter of up to 1.4 meters. It can reach an age of 200 to 500 years. The crown is broadly arched and often multi-stemmed. The brownish-black to black bark can remain smooth for a long time, has small patches with age and is torn flat into small plates.

The alternate leaves are silver-white when they shoot, which usually takes place in June, then pale yellow and later dark green. The leaves are initially hairy everywhere, later only on the underside. They are very variable in shape and perforation. The woolly hairy petiole has a length of 1 to 2 cm. The leaves are about 5 to 10 cm long. The simple leaf blade is narrowly elliptical to ovate-lanceolate to almost rounded; it can end with a point or a blunt end. The leaf margin is serrated smooth to pointed.

The flowering period extends from April to May. The holm oak is monoecious mixed-sex ( monoecious ).

Male, catkin-shaped inflorescences ( Quercus ilex subsp. Ilex )

The light green acorns ( nut fruit ) are almost 2 cm long. Up to half of each fruit is enclosed by the brown felted fruit cup (cupula) with triangular, adjoining scales. The acorns are spread by animals such as squirrels and jays .

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 24.


The holm oak is a character tree of the Mediterranean climate zone . It is widespread from Portugal to Turkey (Aegean and Black Sea coasts) and from Morocco to Tunisia . In places it also penetrates into areas with a sub-Mediterranean climate, e.g. B. on the French Atlantic coast or in the Lake Garda area . In the British Isles, with the exception of Northern Scotland, it is hardy , where it is often planted in gardens and parks and also occurs wild. In Germany it is only reasonably hardy in the very mildest locations (for example in the Rheingraben , in the Lake Constance area or in the Weser-Ems area ) and is rarely planted.

Due to the Spanish colonization in particular , the holm oak has also spread to areas far away from its region of origin, especially in Latin America . So it was introduced in the first half of the 16th century by the Spaniards via Peru , where it no longer grows today, especially for pig breeding in the southern cone of South America. A few decades later, the Spaniards also made it to California , where it continues to grow to this day. To this day, the holm oak is part of the natural inventory in large parts of Chile and is particularly common in the climatically comparable areas of central Chile. In addition to wood production, it is also used as a street tree in Chile . In Argentina , too, there are sometimes centuries-old occurrences, while the tree in Uruguay was only introduced together with the English oak and the cork oak in the 19th century and, like the latter, grows mainly in wine- growing areas.

As an originally widespread type of Mediterranean hard- leaved vegetation ("sclerophyll", i.e. plants with small, stiff, long-lived to evergreen leaves in the winter-humid subtropics), the holm oak is now also replaced in large parts of its original range by the smaller and more warmth- loving , especially Eastern Mediterranean kermes oak Called holy oak, ( Quercus coccifera ) and other plants of the scrub vegetation replaced.

Name and system

The Latin , from a pre-Indo-Mediterranean language borrowed the epithet ilex designated next to the Quercus -Art oak also up in temperate regions spread from the tropics species of holly , which from Persia to Central Europe-based Nennart, the Common holly ( Ilex aquifolium ), sometimes holly is called.

There are two subspecies of the holm oak:

  • Quercus ilex L. subsp. ilex (Syn .: Quercus gramuntia L. , Quercus ilex var. gramuntia (L.) Loudon )
The leaves have 7 to 14 pairs of lateral nerves and are mostly lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate. Young leaves are usually entire or finely serrated, rarely thorn-toothed. The leaf stalks are up to 10 millimeters long. The number of chromosomes is 2n = 24. The subspecies is widespread, but occurs on the Iberian Peninsula only along the Mediterranean coast and in the north. It is completely absent in Morocco.
  • Quercus ilex subsp. rotundifolia (Lam.) O. Schwarz ex Tab.Morais (Syn .: Quercus ballota Desf. , Quercus ilex subsp. ballota (Desf.) Samp. , Quercus rotundifolia Lam. )
The leaves have 5 to 8 pairs of lateral nerves and are mostly rounded to elliptical or lanceolate. Young leaves are usually thorn-toothed. The leaf stalks are up to 6 (exceptionally up to 8) millimeters long. The number of chromosomes is 2n = 24. This subspecies replaces the type subspecies on a large part of the Iberian Peninsula (with the exception of the north and the Mediterranean coast) as well as in Morocco. In addition to the type subspecies, it occurs in southern France, the Balearic Islands, Algeria and Tunisia. R. Govaerts regards this subspecies as an independent species: Quercus rotundifolia Lam. )


The seeds can be eaten raw or cooked; they can be sweet or bitter. A coffee substitute or oil can be obtained from the seeds.

The galls produced by larvae of various insect species on Quercus ilex can be used medicinally. Tannin is extracted from the bark .

Furniture is made from the hard wood , for example. It is good firewood, even if it has not yet dried.

The tree species also plays an important role in traditional pig fattening on the Pyrenees Peninsula . For this purpose, the holm oak is grown in groves ( called dehesas in Spain ), which are grazed by the animals during the fattening period (the acorns ripening period). In addition to the pig breed ( Iberian pig ), this form of feeding is largely responsible for the taste, color and consistency of the meat ( Iberian ham ).


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Erich Oberdorfer : Plant-sociological excursion flora for Germany and neighboring areas . 8th edition. Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8001-3131-5 . Page 318.
  2. ^ Ian C. Hedge, Faik Yaltırık: Quercus . In: Peter Hadland Davis (Ed.): Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands. Vol. 7 (Orobanchaceae to Rubiaceae) . Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh 1982, ISBN 0-85224-396-0 , pp. 660-683 .
  3. a b c Werner Greuter, Hervé-Maurice Burdet, Guy Long (eds.): Med Checklist. A critical inventory of vascular plants of the circum-Mediterranean countries . Vol. 3: Dicotyledones (Convolvulaceae - Labiatae) . Conservatoire et Jardin Botanique, Genève 1986, ISBN 2-8277-0153-7 . (online) .
  4. a b c Jaakko Jalas, Juha Suominen (ed.): Atlas Florae Europaeae. Distribution of Vascular Plants in Europe. 3. Salicaceae to Balanophoraceae. Akateeminen Kirjakauppa, Helsinki 1976, ISBN 951-9108-02-5 .
  5. ^ CD Preston, DA Pearman, TD Dines: New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora . Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-19-851067-5 .
  6. Encina (Quercus ilex). Distribution map on Naturalista , accessed August 28, 2019 (Spanish).
  7. ^ Encina (Central Zone). In: Madera Nacional , wooden portal of the Chilean timber industry association, accessed on August 28, 2019 (Spanish).
  8. Andrea Alvarada Ojeda and others: Árboles urbanos de Chile. Guía de Reconocimiento. Published by the Government of Chile, Santiago de Chile 2013, pp. 296–301 (Spanish).
  9. Encina. In: Carlos Fernando Barioglio: Diccionario de Las Ciencias Agropecuarias. Encuentro, Córdoba 2006, ISBN 987-23022-4-3 , p. 163 in the Google book search (Spanish).
  10. ^ Robles en Argentina . June 30, 2010, Retrieved August 28, 2019 (Spanish).
  11. F. Dutra et al .: Intoxicación espontánea y experimental por Quercus robur (roble inglés) en bovinos en Uruguay. In: Veterinaria (Journal of the Uruguayan Veterinary Society, Montevideo), Vol. 50 (2014), No. 194, pp. 34-48 (Spanish).
  12. Alois Walde : Latin etymological dictionary. 3rd edition, revised by Johann Baptist Hofmann , 3 volumes. Carl Winter's University Bookstore, Heidelberg 1938–1965, Volume 1: A – L. , P. 678 ("Holm oak", also " Kermese oak ").
  13. Georges: Ilex .
  14. Lexicon of Biology: Holly .
  15. Quercus ilex in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
  16. a b c d J. do Amaral Franco: Quercus. In: Santiago Castroviejo, M. Laínz, G. López González, P. Montserrat, F. Muñoz Garmendia, J. Paiva & L. Villar (eds.): Flora Ibérica. Plantas vasculares de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares, Vol. II. Platanaceae-Plumbaginaceae (partim) . Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid 1990, ISBN 84-00-07034-8 , p. 15–36 ( PDF file ).
  17. a b Mohamed Fennane, Mohammed Ibn Tattou, Joël Mathez, Aïcha Ouyahya, Jalal El Oualidi (eds.): Flore pratique du Maroc. Manuel de détermination des plantes vasculaires. Volume 1: Pteridophyta, Gymnospermae, Angiospermae (Lauraceae – Neuradaceae). In: Travaux de l'Institut Scientifique, Série Botanique. ISSN  1114-1174 , Volume 36, 1999, Rabat, ISBN 9954-0-1456-X .
  18. René Maire (Ed.): Flore de l'Afrique du Nord. Volume VII: Dicotyledonae: Clé générale, Archichlamydeae: Casuarinales - Polygonales. 329 p. Paris: Lechevalier, 1961. (PDF file; 16.7 MB). ( Memento from January 22, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  19. Rafaël Govaerts (Ed.): Quercus - World Checklist of Selected Plant Families of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Last accessed on January 14, 2017.
  20. Entry in Plants for a Future. (engl.)

Web links

Wiktionary: Holm oak  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Holm oak  - album with pictures, videos and audio files