Turkey oak Quercus cerris

Status Non-native, invasive
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Habitat

A non-native invasive plant.

Turkey oak is a deciduous tree that has been planted in woodlands, estates, large gardens, in parks and along roads. Unlike the native oak, its acorn cups have a distinctive 'whiskery' appearance as do its leaf buds. The lobes of its leaves are also pointed.

Habitat

It has now naturalised and is spreading into calcareous grassland and heathland.

What's the problem?

The Turkey oak has been widely cultivated in the UK since the 18th century. However, it wasn't until 1905 that it was first recorded in the wild. Since then it has aggressively colonised areas of the British countryside and displaced native plants.

It has now become naturalised and is spreading into wildlife-rich habitats such as calcareous grassland and heathland, threatening native species. It has been recorded from a large number of important nature conservation sites and is sometimes recommended for planting in mixed “native” woodland to make them more resilient to future climate change. Although only small numbers of trees are present on many grassland and heathland sites at the moment, Turkey oak will undoubtedly continue to colonise such areas, becoming a major nuisance in the future.It is also the host of the Knopper Gall Wasp, an insect which damages the acorns of the native oak so affecting its ability to reproduce.

Rapid Risk Assessment

***** Critical Risk

Plantlife's position

We believe this species should be listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales.