Image - An oak tree Image - An oak tree

Oak (Quercus; Ukrainian: дуб; dub). A deciduous or evergreen tree of the family Fagaceae. Oaks grow slowly and have deep root systems, but live long and begin to produce seeds only after 15 to 60 years of growth. After 80 years they increase mainly in circumference. Oak wood is hard and durable and has a pleasing texture. It is used in building ships, underwater installations, railway cars and ties, furniture, and houses, and its tannin is used to tan hides and in the manufacture of ink. Acorns provide food for small game animals and are used to fatten pigs and poultry. In times of war imitation coffee was made from acorns.

Oak is the most common deciduous tree in Ukraine; 20 percent of all trees there are oak. The common oak (Q. robur) grows throughout Ukraine; the rock oak (Q. petracaea) grows in western regions of Ukraine, in Caucasia, and along the Dnister River. A 700-year-old oak with a trunk circumference of 6.3 m grows in the village of Verkhnia Khortytsia, near Zaporizhia. Oak groves are common in the forest-steppe region. Other trees often found with oak are beech, hornbeam, pine, and linden. Oak is often used in Ukrainian folk songs and proverbs to symbolize strength.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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