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Biology

The seedlings of sessile oak are more tolerant of shade than those of pedunculate oak, which enables the species to regenerate in woodlands (5). This deciduous tree is long-lived, typically reaching 1000 years of age (6). Acorns were once widely used to feed pigs; they were also ground down to make a substitute for coffee and even a type of bread. A good crop of acorns was used to predict a good harvest, and a heavy fall of acorns was thought to signal an impending harsh winter (2). Sessile oaks do not yield as many acorns as pedunculate oaks, and the timber was less highly valued. Coppicing of these oaks was common in the north and west of Britain; this practice produces many thin poles of wood. The wood was burned in the iron-smelting industry and the bark was used in the leather tanning industry as a source of tannin (4).  Oak trees support a staggering variety of wildlife, and are habitats in their own right. The open canopy of sessile oak lets light through to the ground, which favours the growth of a diverse ground flora (7).

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