Capuchin Holm Oak

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Quercus ilex (Fagaceae)

This immense holm oak grows on a hill, in the courtyard of the Capuchin convent, probably planted in the years of its foundation (around 1538, when what was left of the former Montevarchi castle was donated to the friars).

The Capuchin holm oak has a trunk circumference of 15.4 ft, a height of 49.2 ft and is over 500 years old. Despite growing so close to a slope, its health conditions are very good, while the roots are well-anchored to the ground.

Almost halfway up the trunk, the tree is split into two main branches which form their own crown: from below, the tree looks heart-shaped.

How to get there:

From the parking lot behind Montevarchi railway station (AR), originate several trails that lead uphill to the Capuchin convent.

Botanical Card

In Italy, this species is most widespread in the Ionian and Tyrrhenian regions, as well as on the major islands, while on the Adriatic side it is found quite sporadically.
There are two groups of relic trees belonging to warmer periods on the Euganean Hills and around the city of Ferrara.

The northernmost point of growth of the holm oak is in the Carnic Prealps, on vertical cliffs exposed to the south.

The holm oak is an evergreen plant with leathery leaves that form a dark green crown.

The species is xerotolerant, prefers protective shading in the juvenile phase and adapts well to different types of soils but avoids clayey-compact ones with any water stagnation.

The wood is hard and difficult to process and season as it tends to warp and split. It was once used to build tools or parts of farming wagons due to its extreme durability. It can be used as excellent fuel or very good coal.

Photo source:

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


52025 Montevarchi(AR)

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