Opinion

Our own state champion Holm Oak has many uses

TREEMENDOUS TREES

The Holm Oak (Quercus ilex), also called Holly Oak or Evergreen Oak, is a large evergreen oak native to the Mediterranean region. It takes its name from holm, an obsolete name for holly.

It is a medium size tree, 20 to 27 feet tall with finely square-fissured blackish bark and leathery evergreen leaves. The old leaves fall one to two years after new leaves emerge. The leaves are dark green above and pale whitish-gray with dense short hairs below. The flowers are catkins, produced in the spring, the fruit is an acorn which matures in about six months.

It is native in the north and east of the species’ range from northern Iberia and France east to Greece. The wood is hard and tough, used since ancient times for general construction purposes as pillars, tools, wagons, vessels and wine casks. Used as well as firewood, or in charcoal manufacture.

The Holm Oak is one of the top three trees used in the establishment of truffle orchards or truffieres. Truffles grow in an ectomycorrhizal association with the tree’s roots. The acorns, like those of the Cork Oak, are edible (toasted or as a flour).

This tree is located locally in Kitsap at Olympic College in Bremerton and is a state champion.

Isaiah 40:20: A Holm Oak is set apart, he chooseth a tree that will not rot.

Jim Trainer is a local community forester and the owner of Treez Inc. He appears the last Saturday of the month in the CK Reporter.

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