Holm or evergreen oak

Quercus ilex

The images 1st and 2nd display the evergreen oak in blossom in spring, with new, soft leaves of greyish shade, opposite to the old, deep green, hard leaves. The 1st image displays the tassels, which are masculine inflorescences delivering pollen to be disseminated by the wind. The 2nd picture shows the minute female flower in the axilla of one leaf that, if pollinized, will madurate to become one acorn.

On the picture 3rd, the leaves of Quercus ilex ssp. ilex –left- and Quercus ilex ssp ballota –right-. The greyish color of Quercus ilex ssp. ballota leaf is due to its dense set of short hairs. The leaves of both subspecies vary a lot. This variability is even more noticeable in Bages where the individuals with morphological traits stepping between the two subspecies are common. The evergreen oak leaves are broad, perennial and hard. This type of leaves are named sclerophylles and they are common in the evergreen oak wood.

Pictures 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th present the acorns of evergreen oak. The acorn will turn from green to adark, shining brown colour when ripe in November. All acorns are edible. However, the humans only appreciate that of the holm tree with sweet acorns. Several wild animals like some weevil, the jay, the woodpigeon, the wild boar or mice,… and domestic ones like sheeps and pigs feed on acorns.

The picture 8th displays the bark of the evergreen oak.

[photos Florenci Vallès (1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th), Marta Queralt López Salvans (5th & 8th) and Jordi Badia (6th & 7th)]