Quercus ithaburensis macrolepis
Herb: Valonia Oak
Latin name: Quercus ithaburensis macrolepis
Synonyms: Quercus aegilops macrolepis, Quercus graeca, Quercus macrolepis
Family: Fagaceae (Beech Family)
Medicinal use of Valonia Oak:Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Open forests in the hills or as solitary trees, usually in dry soils.
Edible parts of Valonia Oak:Seed - raw or cooked. The seed is quite big, about 4cm x 3cm and is very low in tannin. Any bitter seeds can be leached by thoroughly washing the seed in running 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. Roasted seed is a coffee substitute. A manna is obtained from the tree. No further details.
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. The acorn cups contain about 45% tannin. A black dye can be obtained from them and it can be used as an ink. Gall-like excretions on the plant are caused by damage from the insect Cynips calicis. These growths contain about 30% tannin.
Propagation of Valonia 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:Open forests in the hills or as solitary trees, usually in dry soils.
Known hazards of Quercus ithaburensis macrolepis:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.