The oak is often considered the mightiest of trees. It symbolizes strength and courage. The ancient Romans thought oak trees attracted lightening and thereby connected the oak tree to the sky god, Jupiter and his wife, Juno, the goddess of marriage. Thus, the oak is also a symbol of conjugal fidelity and fulfillment. Transcending times and cultures, the oak has symbolized strength and endurance. For this reason it stands tall as the national tree of England, Estonia, France, Germany, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the United States, Basque Country, Wales and Serbia.
There are about 400 species of oak trees worldwide. The acorn (which is actually a nut) is its fruit. Most acorns contain only one seed, and take between 6 to 18 months to mature.
Oak trees can live 200 or more years. The largest oak tree of record is the Wye oak in the community of Wye Mills in Talbot County on Maryland’s eastern shore in the U.S.A. Estimated to be nearly 500 years old, it measured 31 feet, 10 inches in circumference, stood 96 feet tall, and had an average crown spread of 119 feet. Among its impressive characteristics were massive buttresses or “knees” at the base which helped support this huge tree.
A famous oak tree is the huge Major Oak near the village of Edwinstowe in the heart of Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England. This ancient tree is between 800 to 1000 years old and has a waistline of 33 feet. What makes this magnificent tree so popular is the belief that it was Robin Hood’s shelter where he and his merry men slept.