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Useful Temperate Plants

Quercus obtusata

Bonpl.

Fagaceae

+ Synonyms

Quercus alvarezensis Trel.

Quercus atriglans E.F.Warb.

Quercus crenatifolia Trel.

Quercus hartwegii Benth.

Quercus pandurata Bonpl.

Quercus panduriformis Trel.

Quercus spicata Bonpl.

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Quercus obtusata is a deciduous tree that can grow from 6 - 20 metres tall. The bole can be up 40 - 60cm in diameter[
1212
Title
New Trees
Publication
 
Author
Grimshaw J.; Bayton R.; Wilks H.
Publisher
Kew Publishing; London
Year
2009
ISBN
1842461737
Description
Provides comprehensive botanical descriptions and horticultural commentary on over 800 tree species that have been introduced to cultivation in recent decades.
,
1225
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 89
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis.
Year
2002
ISBN
0026-6493
Description
A botanical journal, it includes a treatment of the oaks of Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for mainly local use as a medicine and source of materials, possibly also as a food.
The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
1212
Title
New Trees
Publication
 
Author
Grimshaw J.; Bayton R.; Wilks H.
Publisher
Kew Publishing; London
Year
2009
ISBN
1842461737
Description
Provides comprehensive botanical descriptions and horticultural commentary on over 800 tree species that have been introduced to cultivation in recent decades.
].

Known Hazards

All parts of the plant contain tannins. Whilst tannins are found in many foods, and have a range of medicinal uses. They are usually only present in low concentrations. In some foods made from oaks (particularly the seeds), the tannin content can be quite high unless the food is treated to reduce tannin content.
Tannins are only of low toxicity and, because of their bitter taste and astringency, are unlikely to be eaten in large quantities. However, if they are taken in excess, they can cause stomach pains; constipation followed by bloody diarrhoea: excessive thirst; and excessive urination[
293
Title
Poisonous Plants of North Carolina
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent concise but comprehensive guide to toxic plants that grow in N. Carolina. It lists even those plants that are of very low toxicity, including several well-known food plants such as carrots and potatoes.
].

Botanical References

1225
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 89
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis.
Year
2002
ISBN
0026-6493
Description
A botanical journal, it includes a treatment of the oaks of Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet

Range

Southern N. America - central and southern Mexico

Habitat

Pine-oak forest, mesophytic montane forest and xerophytic scrub, frequently in disturbed oak woodlands; at elevations from 620 - 2,850 metres[
1212
Title
New Trees
Publication
 
Author
Grimshaw J.; Bayton R.; Wilks H.
Publisher
Kew Publishing; London
Year
2009
ISBN
1842461737
Description
Provides comprehensive botanical descriptions and horticultural commentary on over 800 tree species that have been introduced to cultivation in recent decades.
,
1225
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 89
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis.
Year
2002
ISBN
0026-6493
Description
A botanical journal, it includes a treatment of the oaks of Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Tree
Height12.00 m
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Quercus obtusata is native to moderate elevations in the subtropical and tropical regions of Mexico; it is not very cold-hardy . It can tolerate occasional temperatures down to around -8°c when dormant, growing best in areas with hot summers. In areas with cooler summers (even if the winters are mild), such as the maritime regions of the temperate zone, it often grows poorly, failing to properly ripen its wood and suffering frost damage over the winter[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. It is succeeding, but rather slow-growing, in southern England (hardiness zone 7 - 8) and is thriving at the Arboretum de la Bergerette in southwestern France.
Quercus species generally grow well in a sunny position, though young plants usually tolerate reasonable levels of side shade[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. They usually prefer a good deep fertile loam which can be on the stiff side[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. They are also often tolerant of moderate exposure, surviving well but being somewhat stunted[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Seedlings soon develop a taproot and become intolerant of root disturbance, they should be planted into their permanent positions whilst young[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
Most Quercus species hybridize freely with other members of the genus[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The seeds ripe in their first year of growth[
1212
Title
New Trees
Publication
 
Author
Grimshaw J.; Bayton R.; Wilks H.
Publisher
Kew Publishing; London
Year
2009
ISBN
1842461737
Description
Provides comprehensive botanical descriptions and horticultural commentary on over 800 tree species that have been introduced to cultivation in recent decades.
].

Edible Uses

The globose to cylindrical seed can be 6 - 19mm long and 11 - 19mm wide[
1225
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 89
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis.
Year
2002
ISBN
0026-6493
Description
A botanical journal, it includes a treatment of the oaks of Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet
].
Although we have no specific information for this species, the seeds of all the species of oak are edible - indeed, several species have been used as staple foods, whilst most if not all have been used for food in times of shortage, when better foods were not available[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
The seed is usually cooked before eating, though it can also be eaten raw. It can be eaten whole, though it is more commonly dried, then ground into a powder and used as a thickening in stews etc or mixed with cereals for making bread.
In some species, especially many of those classified as 'white oaks', the seeds are low in tannins and have a more or less sweet and agreeable flavour. The seed of most species, however, have a very bitter flavour, due especially to the presence of tannins. In these species there are various processes that can remove or at least reduce the amount of these bitter substances (although other water-soluble substances, including some minerals, will also be removed).
Tannins are water-soluble and therefore the easiest way to remove or reduce tannin levels is by soaking in water. A few different methods are listed:-
A traditional method of preparing the seed was to bury it in boggy ground overwinter and allow the wet soil to gradually leach the tannins. The germinating seed was dug up in the spring when it would have lost most of its astringency and bitterness.
Another method was to wrap the seeds in a cloth bag and place them in a stream for several weeks.
Drying the seed and grinding it to a powder before soaking speeds up the process. The fastest method is to use hot water, by cooking the powder and changing the water several times until the cooking water is no longer bitter. Alternatively, you can use cold water (which is reported to produce the best quality flour). In this case, you soak the powdered seed in cold water for 12 - 24 hours then discard the water. Repeat this process for a number of times until the soak water is no longer bitter.

The roasted seed of many Quercus species has been used as a coffee substitute.

Medicinal

The bark is used medicinally[
1225
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 89
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis.
Year
2002
ISBN
0026-6493
Description
A botanical journal, it includes a treatment of the oaks of Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet
]. It is almost certainly valued especially for the tannins it contains , which are astringent and are taken internally to treat conditions such as diarrhoea and dysentery, and are used as a mouthwash to treat gum problems and as a wash on the skin to treat cuts, burns etc[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Quercus (oak) species are used in the traditional medicine of many cultures, being valued especially for their tannins. Various parts of the plant can be used, most frequently it is the leaves, bark, seeds, seed cups or the galls that are produced as a result of insect damage. A decoction or infusion is astringent, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, styptic and haemostatic. It is taken internally to treat conditions such as acute diarrhea, dysentery and haemorrhages. Externally, it is used as a mouthwash to treat toothache or gum problems and is applied topically as a wash on cuts, burns, various skin problems, haemorrhoids and oral, genital and anal mucosa inflammation[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. Extracts of the plant can be added to ointments and used for the healing of cuts[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
1231
Title
Antibacterial and Antifungal Activities of Some Quercus Species Growing in Turkey
Publication
FABAD J. Pharm. Sci., 32, 127-130, 2007
Author
Didem Söhretoğlu; Melike Ekizoğlu; Ekrem Kiliç; M. Koray Sak
Publisher
 
Year
2007
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Other Uses

The leaves of most species in this genus are more or less rich in tannins. A mulch of the partially decayed leaves can be placed around vulnerable plants in order to repel slugs, snails, grubs etc, and these will in time break down to add humus and nutrients to the soil. Fresh leaves should be used with caution, however, since as these decay they utilize some of the nitrogen in the soil and thus can inhibit plant growth[
20
Title
Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Publication
 
Author
Riotte. L.
Publisher
Garden Way, Vermont, USA.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-88266-064-0
Description
Fairly good.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]..

Oak galls are excrescences that are sometimes produced in great numbers on the tree and are caused by the activity of the larvae of different insects. The insects live inside these galls, obtaining their nutrient therein. When the insect pupates and leaves, the gall can be used as a rich source of tannin, that can also be used as a dyestuff and is also used by many cultures to make ink[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
The bark of oak trees is also usually rich in tannins and can be used as a dyestuff and for waterproofing rope[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

The bark is a source of tannins[
1225
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 89
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis.
Year
2002
ISBN
0026-6493
Description
A botanical journal, it includes a treatment of the oaks of Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet
].
The bark is used as a building material[
1225
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 89
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis.
Year
2002
ISBN
0026-6493
Description
A botanical journal, it includes a treatment of the oaks of Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet
].

The wood is used to make poles for agricultural implements, beam supports, tool handles[
1225
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 89
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis.
Year
2002
ISBN
0026-6493
Description
A botanical journal, it includes a treatment of the oaks of Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet
].
As a source of wood and lumber the genus Quercus is one of the most important of all groups of trees. We have no further specific information for this species, but in general he timber is noted for its strength, durability, and beauty, and is used everywhere for innumerable purposes, ranging from fuel to railroad ties, construction of buildings and ships, interior trim, flooring, and all grades of furniture. The woods of different species vary as to their physical qualities; some of them are very hard and tough, others are lighter in weight, softer, and less tough[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[
1225
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol. 89
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; St. Louis.
Year
2002
ISBN
0026-6493
Description
A botanical journal, it includes a treatment of the oaks of Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet
].

Propagation

Seed - it quickly loses viability if it is allowed to dry out. It can be stored moist and cool overwinter but is best sown as soon as it is ripe in an outdoor seed bed, though it must be protected from mice, squirrels etc. Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold frame. Plants produce a deep taproot and need to be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible, in fact seed sown in situ will produce the best trees[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. Trees should not be left in a nursery bed for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved or they will transplant very badly.

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