Quercus cerris (Turkey Oak)

Quercus cerris (Turkey Oak) is an oak native to south-eastern Europe and Asia Minor. It is characterised by shoot buds surrounded by soft bristles, bristle-tipped leaf lobes, and acorns that usually mature in 18 months.

Quercus cerris is a large deciduous tree growing to 25–40 m tall with a trunk up to 2m in diameter. The bark is dark grey and deeply furrowed. On mature trees the bark fissures are often streaked orange near the base of the trunk.

The glossy leaves are 7–14 cm long and 3–5 cm wide, with 6–12 triangular lobes on each side; the regularity of the lobing varies greatly, with some trees having very regular lobes, others much less regular.

The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins, maturing about 18 months after pollination; the fruit is a large acorn, bicoloured with an orange basal half grading to a green-brown tip. First year acorns are very bitter, but are eaten by jays and pigeons; squirrels usually only eat them when other food sources have run out.

The species' range extended to northern Europe and the British Isles before the previous ice age, about 120,000 years ago. It was reintroduced in the United Kingdom and in Ireland in the eighteenth century as an ornamental tree.

Turkey oak is widely planted and is naturalised in much of Europe. This is partly for its relatively fast growth. It is used as an ornamental, and as a coastal windbreak.