There are two native oaks in Britain, the English Oak and the Sessile Oak. They look similar but differ in two important ways. All images and text taken from the book Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Europe published by Reed New Holland in 2017, author Alan Birkett and ISBN 9781921517839.
The English Oak is the dominant tree in most of Britain, particularly on the richer soils in valley bottoms. It has been planted everywhere in parks, gardens, deer parks and woods. he English Oak is also known as the Pedunculate Oak because its acorns have stalks (known as ‘peduncles’ by botanists).
The Sessile Oak is also known as the Durmast Oak, a name that is possibly related to the feeding of pigs on acorn and beechnuts, known as ‘mast’. In Britain it is more common than the English Oak in upland areas in the North and West and is often found in woodlands on well-drained hillsides. The Sessile Oak gets its name from the fact that its acorns have no stalk, a feature that is known as ‘sessile’ by botanists.
The English Oak leaf has a very short stalk, hidden by two small leaves known as “ears” at the base of the leaf.
The Sessile Oak leaf has a long stalk.
An English Oak acorn, which is on a long stalk called a peduncle.
Sessile Oak acorns have no stalk. They sit on the shoot like this – a feature that is known as ‘sessile’ by botanists.