holm oak acorns

The holm oak being an evergreen,
its leaves are visible all year

Trees of London
Russell Square

Holm Oak

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              If you look closely as you walk around the square, you will see many trees with leathery leaves, which are evergreen. You will recognize some of them as being either Wilson or common hollies. However, be alert, take a close look at their barks. If they are not grey and smooth, you might be looking at a tree which looks quite similar, especially when they are young: the holm oak. Take a look at the leaves; if they are smaller, but still sometimes with that crinkley effect you may deduce that it truly is the holm oak. These trees also have a rougher bark. The similarities have been recognized my botanists because this tree is also known as the hollyoak. If you visit at the right time of year, the real give away is the presence of acorns.

              These holm oaks are young and so their barks have not become as dark and rough as they will. This tree grows to quite a large size. The ones in Russell Square are not half that height right now. They grow much larger than the holly is capable of growing.

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Other Trees at Russell Square

yew      Scots elm

cherry     holly

Russell square

Tree Identification

Quercus ilex:

leaf: leathery; vary in shape and size, sometime long and thin; sometimes, oval and spiky at edge like a holly. holm oak leaf
holm oak acorns nuts/fruit:
holm oak catkins

Flowers: April/May; small catkins; grow between leaves.

holm oak bark bark:
grey, dark brown; flaky; ridged.when older.
grows to 20 metres; round and stocky.
general: leathery leaves its most distinguishing feature, and they are there all year round.

Second tree to the left of the
south-west entrance.
Marked blue on map.
However, there are many more in the square.

Trees of London        A James Wilkinson Publication ©