Oak & Scots Pine
Oak & Scots Pine
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus (Latin "oak tree") of the beech family, Fagaceae. There are approximately 600 extant species of oaks. The name Oak stems from the Anglo-Saxon ӕc. This, and similar sounding names in other languages (Scots aik; Swedish ek; German Eiche) refer to the acorn. They are etymologically identical with the word egg. In these languages Oak and egg either have the same name, or the names are switched perhaps due to the shape. The name Oak is so deeply rooted that there are no other popular names for the tree. It derives from its most useful product: from Anglo-Saxon times, Oak forests were valued for pannage - the fattening of hogs. The timber later came to be used for building houses and boats, the Hearts of Oak. Ultimately it was used to build the Royal Navy’s ships especially from the time of King Henry VIII until the age of steam. It made charcoal and Oak charcoal was used to smelt iron. The bark is used in tanning, and a decoction can be used for chronic diarrhoea and dysentery. Grated acorns sprinkled on food are an old remedy for diarrhoea. Roasted and ground they have been used as a coffee substitute. Arber (1) reproduces a woodcut of a Cork Oak (Quercus suber) from Mattioli's (2) Commentarii.
Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is a species of pine that is native to Eurasia, ranging from Western Europe to Eastern Siberia, south to the Caucasus Mountains and Anatolia, and north to well inside the Arctic Circle in Scandinavia. It is a native and was the dominant tree of much of the Highlands. It is thought most specimens in England were introduced, although some may be descendants of survivors from the post-glacial age 7000 years ago when it was dominant over much of Europe. The term pynappel was used for the cones, their superficial resemblance being to the tropical genus Ananas (Pineapple). The term is rarely applied today whilst the name Deal Apples was known in Suffolk. Pine trees form valuable windbreaks in flat exposed places like the East Anglian brecklands. The timber, known as deal, is useful. Some parts of this tree (sylvestris, which means wild, or uncultivated) and other Pines are used medicinally, including Pine Oil, for inhalations or externally as a rubefacient. Stockholm Tar, obtained by the destructive distillation of stems and roots of Pine trees, is antiseptic and expectorant, so is used for obstinate bronchial coughs and eczema.
(1) Arber, Agnes (1879-1960) plant morphologist and anatomist, botanic historian and biology philosopher, Herbals: their origin and evolution. A chapter in the history of botany, 1938;
(2) Mattioli, Pietro Andrea Gregorio (Matthiolus) (1501–1577) Sienese physician and naturalist Commentarii, 1565;