Herb: Oregon White Oak


Latin name: Quercus garryana


Family: Fagaceae (Beech Family)



Medicinal use of Oregon White Oak:

Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc. A decoction of the bark has been used in the treatment of tuberculosis. An infusion of the plant has been drunk by a mother before her first baby comes. The pounded bark has been rubbed on the abdomen and sides of the mother before her first delivery.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
18 m
(59 feet)

Flovering:
May

Habitat of the herb:

Dry prairies and foothills to rocky bluffs.

Edible parts of Oregon White Oak:

Seed - raw or cooked. Up to 25mm long. Up to 32mm long and 25mm wide according to other reports, which also said that it has a sweet taste. The seed is ground into a powder and used in making bread etc, it is a good thickener for soups and stews. The seed has a high content of bitter tannins, these can be leached out by thoroughly washing the dried and ground up seed in water, though many minerals will also be lost. Either the whole seed can be used or the seed can be dried and ground it into a powder. It can take several days or even weeks to properly leach whole seeds, one method was to wrap them in a cloth bag and place them in a stream. Leaching the powder is quicker. A simple taste test can tell when the tannin has been leached. The traditional method of preparing the seed was to bury it in boggy ground overwinter. The germinating seed was dug up in the spring when it would have lost most of its astringency. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute.

Other uses of the herb:

A mulch of the leaves repels slugs, grubs etc, though fresh leaves should not be used as these can inhibit plant growth. Oak galls are excrescences that are sometimes produced in great numbers on the tree and are caused by the activity of the larvae of different insects. The insects live inside these galls, obtaining their nutrient therein. When the insect pupates and leaves, the gall can be used as a rich source of tannin, that can also be used as a dyestuff. Wood - hard, heavy, strong, tough, close grained, durable, easy to split. Used for furniture, cabinet making, general construction etc and also for fence posts and fuel.

Propagation of Oregon White Oak:

Seed - it quickly loses viability if it is allowed to dry out. It can be stored moist and cool overwinter but is best sown as soon as it is ripe in an outdoor seed bed, though it must be protected from mice, squirrels etc. Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold frame. Plants produce a deep taproot and need to be planted out into their permanent positions as soon as possible, in fact seed sown in situ will produce the best trees. Trees should not be left in a nursery bed for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved or they will transplant very badly.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry prairies and foothills to rocky bluffs.

Known hazards of Quercus garryana:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.