All images and text are 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


English Oak tree in mid May
sessile oak tree in midsummer

There are 2 native oaks in Britain, the English Oak and the Sessile Oak. From a distance they look alike as shown above, where the first image is of the English Oak and the second the Sessile oak. The English Oak is also known as the Pedunculate Oak because its acorns have stalks (known as ‘peduncles’ by botanists). It can easily be confused with the Sessile Oak, which gets its name from the fact that its acorns have no stalk, a feature that is known as “sessile” by botanists. 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. 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.

english oak leaf with ears and no stalk
seesile oak leaf with long stalk

The first image shows the English Oak leaf which has a very short stalk, hidden by two small leaves known as “ears” at the base of the leaf. In comparison, the second image shows the Sessile Oak leaf which has  a long stalk.

english oak acorn on a long stalk or peduncle
sessile oak acorns no stalk

The first image shows an English Oak acorn, which is on a long stalk called a peduncle. The second image shows acorns of the Sessile Oak which have no stalk. They sit on the shoot like this – a feature that is known as “sessile” by botanists.