The English fastigiate oak (Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’) is a cultivar of the English Oak, also called Cypress oak because of its narrow columnar shape with dense upright branches growing in a sharp angle from the trunk. The English oak is native to the British Isles and mainland Europe and was introduced to America in the 17th century. Short-stalked leaves with small blunt lobes per side are dark green above and blue-green beneath. Fruits are oval acorns with caps extend approximately 1/3 the acorn length. Leaves display little fall color. The English Oak is one of the most common and massive trees of Northern Europe. Some specimen as old as 1000 years. Its hard wood has had valuable industrial applications including ship-building, tannin for leather production; acorns for hog feed, small wood for fuel. It has given rise to a number of cultivars among which “Fastigiata” has a narrow upright habit (fastigiatus, Latin for “erect upright” branches often creating the effect of a column). The recent book by Aljos Farjon “Ancient Oaks in the English Landscape” describes the role of the British Oak since the Norman times in influencing landscape design. Like all Fagales many leaves are retained during the winter. Quercus is the Latin name for “oak”. The specific epithet, robur, means “robust” in reference to the strength and durability of the tree.
Common name: English Fatigiate oak; Columnar English Oak [Predunculate Oak, British Oak, Truffle Oak, Common Oak, Irish Dair]
Scientific Name (family and order): Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’ L. , (Fagaceae, Fagales)
Species Origin: Europe
New Jersey Status: USDA Unreported
Habit: The fastigiate tree is 60 – 60’ tall x 10 – 15’ wide; bole diameter 2-3’.
Habitat: Zone 4 -8; woods.
Trunk/Stem: Bark pale gray and fissured.
Leaves: Deciduous, Simple, Alternate. The leaves unfold as the flowers open. Elliptic to obovate, 4 ½ “ long x 3” wide; there are 3 -6 rounded lobes per side. Above the blades are dark green; below they are blue-green and become smooth. At the base of the blade are two small lobes (emarginate auricles) that nearly clasp the petiole. Autumn colors coffee-brown to orange-brown.
Flowers: Monoecious. Flowers appear on old or new growth; staminate catkins pendent and clustered; its flowers comprise a 4 – 7 lobed calyx which encloses 6 stamens. The pistillate flowers are solitary or on few-to-many-flowered spikes which form in the axial of new leaves. Individual flowers consist of a 6 lobed calyx surrounding 3-celled ovary; the whole is partly covered by the involucre.
Fruits and seeds: The fruit is an acorn, ½ “ long, ovoid to cylindrical, 1/3 enclosed in a the cup; the acorn is long and its pedicle is long while the leaves are on short petioles (these two features are central to identification of this species); borne in clusters of 1 – 3.