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Holm oak, characteristics of the plant


Holm oak, characteristics of the plant, images and tips for growing holm oak in the garden or for income cultivation. Size, growth, leaves and tips.

Holm oak: botanical description, cultivation for ornamental purposes or for the production of wood, climatic and soil needs. Holm oak to cultivate a windbreak hedge in coastal areas.

Holm oak, characteristics of the plant

The Holm oakis the only evergreen oak, it is theQuercus ilexand belongs to the Fagaceae family. Theholm oakit is an oak that can live in arid environments, grows slowly and is very long-lived (it can live for hundreds of years).

It belongs to the genusQuercus, of the Fagaceae family. It is widespread especially in the Mediterranean areas and in Italian gardens it finds its natural habitat: as long as you have enough space!

Holm oak or Quercus ilex, botanical description

The holm oak (Quercus ilex) has a gray-brownish trunk that tends to crack with time. The leaves are persistent, with the upper part of a dark green and shiny while the lower lamina is rich in hair and is grayish in color. The leaves of the holm oak are visible in the photo above.

Theholm oakit has separate male and female flowers: the male ones are gathered in cylindrical catkins, the female ones are single or double that sprout from a small peduncle. The fruit of theholm oakconsists of the famousacorn which is considered, botanically, an achene (likeChestnuts and Chestnuts). The holm oak acorn is visible in the photo below.

Size: thestemit can reach a height of up to 20 - 28 meters.

Of the Quercus ilex species, there are two subspecies:

Quercus ilex subsp ilex, with narrower and about 2 cm long leaves.

Quercus ilex subsp rotundifoliaalso known asQuercus rotundifolia, has wider leaves and longer acorns, up to 2.5 cm. The acorns are shown in the photo below.

Growth: the holm oak has a slow growth but an excellent longevity. Under ideal conditions, thistreeit can even exceed a thousand years of age! It typically lives for hundreds of years.

Cultivation of holm oak

Theholm oakit is typical of the Mediterranean basin, in Italy it grows mainly on the Tyrrhenian side but is commonly found throughout the coast and in various inland areas, at a higher altitude limit of around 600 meters.

Regarding the soil requirements, theholm oakit grows well on different types of soil, from calcareous to clayey ones, as long as they are not too clayey.

Holm oak, income cultivation

Theholm oakit is cultivated for ornamental purposes or for the production of wood. Thewoodof the holm oakit is considered an excellent fuel, in fact the value of firewood varies from 12 to 15 euros per quintal, depending on the degree of seasoning.

Theholm oak, for thecultivationfrom income, it adapts well tocoppice treatment, a method that provides for periodic cutting of the stems at the base to allow the growth of new suckers. The transfer must have shifts of no less than 10-12 years. With one hectare of land it is possible to produce 2,000 - 3,000 stumps.

How to grow holm oak in the garden

Therecultivationof theholm oakfor ornamental purposes it is advisable only in the central-southern regions and in a very sunny position. Who wantscultivate the holm oakin areasNorthernit can do so as long as you go to choose areas well exposed to the south, milder areas and above all in positions sheltered from winds or frosts.

Theholm oakit is a Mediterranean plant par excellence, therefore it suffers with rigid temperatures. Being aevergreen, we do not recommendcultivate the holm oakin the immediate vicinity of the house: it does not lose its leaves, so in winter it could shade the house too much because with its thick foliage it does not let the sun's rays filter.

Holm oak hedge

The holm oak is possiblecultivateperimeter for the construction of a high windbreak barrier or high hedge. The holm oak, in fact, is suitable for the construction of natural windbreak walls, they adapt to any terrain and can be cultivated for the formation of hedges in the coastal area.

It needs well-drained soil. Thanks to its large size and evergreen foliage, the holm oak can give perfect hedges.

Oak acorns: theacorn of the holm oak

The holm oakit produces flowers approximately in the month of May while the ripening of the fruits, theacorns, occurs in the autumn period, in October. Theacornsof theholm oakare the sweetest of all oaks, for this reason, in the peasant tradition, theacornsof theholm oakhave long been used for the production of flour used for the preparation of bread and cakes.

For the production of acorn flour, sweets and other baked goods, theacornsof the subspeciesrotundifolia, also known as Quercus ballota.These acorns, in fact, are sweeter.

In Spain, holm oak acorns are used to feed pigs destined for the production of Iberian ham.

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