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Quercus Alnifolia

Known commonly as the Golden oak this unusual oak is a native of Cyprus. Endemic to this mediterainian isle it is now their national tree and protected,as of 2006.   Evergreen, slow growing and reaching rarely more than 10 meters it has small ovate,slightly serrated leaves similar to the Alder which is where it gets its latin name 'alnus'. The common name is due to the golden under leaf which is in great contrast to the dark glossy green of the upper side.  Growing readily on the igneous scree and rocks of the mountainous regions of Cyprus along with Pinus Brutia [turkish pine] it has been of great benifit in stabilising soils and holding back erosion on the Troodos Mountains   The flowers are unisexual,.the male flower is yellowy-green and pendunculate and the acorn is long and slim held by a small tight cuple, brown when ripe but often showing a red tinge. The mature tree can reach greater hieghts in the right enviroment and are greatly revered. They are multi branched with a wide crown as are most of the 'quercus cerris' family that grow in this large oak area from middle Medeterainian right thruogh to the Caucasus Mountains. The Alnifolia also hybridises with the local evergreen oaks of the region. Kermes oak being the most common 


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© Richard Browne

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