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Plant Collections

Oak Collection

The great trees of Melbourne Gardens are spectacular throughout the year, but autumn is a particularly special time when the elms, oaks, and many other deciduous trees explode into a mass of vibrant yellow, red and orange.

Best Viewed

  • Autumn


The following oak species are available in the nursery trade in Victoria. Please note however that some Quercus are large trees and need a large area to grow in. These trees are not recommended for backyard planting.

Quercus macrocarpa Mossy-cup Oak

Quercus palustris Pin Oak

Quercus robur English Oak

Plant Census

Find out what plants grow at Melbourne Gardens.

Key Plants

Quercus canariensis Algerian Oak

The Algerian Oak is native to southern Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. It is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 20-30 m tall with a trunk up to 1.5 m diameter.

Quercus ilex Holm Oak

The Holm Oak is an evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean region. It takes its name from holm, an ancient name for holly. It is a medium-sized oak tree growing to 20–27 m tall with black bark and leathery evergreen leaves.

Quercus macrocarpa Mossy-cup Oak

The Mossy-cup Oak is a species of oak native to North America in the eastern and mid western United States and south-central Canada. It is a large deciduous tree growing to 30 m tall, and is one of the most massive oaks with a trunk diameter of up to 3 m. The acorns are very large.

Quercus palustris Pin Oak

Quercus palustris is native to eastern North America. It is a medium-sized deciduous tree growing to 18-22 m tall with a trunk up to 1 m in diameter. It has an 8-14 m spread. Compared to some of the other oak trees, it is not a long-lived oak, usually living only 90 to 120 years.

Quercus robur English Oak

Quercus robur or English Oak is native to most of Europe, Asia Minor and also to parts of North Africa. It is a large deciduous tree growing 25–35 m tall. It is a long-lived tree with a large wide spreading crown of rugged branches.

Curator Notes

  1. Don’t throw oak leaves out, they make great compost for gardens or vegetable patches.
  2. There are about 400 species of oaks. They are native to the northern hemisphere, and include deciduous and evergreen species extending from cold to tropical climates.
  3. The Pechanga Great Oak Tree in Temecula, California, United States is believed to be 2000 years old.


  • 1858 - Ferdinand von Mueller planted Quercus suber (Cork Oak) on the Western slope above the lagoon.
  • 1862 - Mueller planted 30 species of oaks from Europe, Asia and America on the now Oak Lawn.
  • 1868 - Oaks (among many other species) planted along the northern boundary to mitigate damage caused by flooding of the Yarra River.
  • 1873 - William Guilfoyle planted a Q. faginea (Portuguese Oak) in the year he arrived at the Botanic Gardens.
  • 1874-75 - Guilfoyle transplanted 832 trees between 8 – 10 meters tall, including oaks.
  • 1877 - Guilfoyle planted oaks on the Eastern Lawn.
  • 1880 - The 40 species of oak on the Oak Lawn reported to be thriving. These included Q. aegilopes, Q. coccifera, Q. suber, Q. castanea, Q. rubra, Q. ilex, Q. virens, Q. cerris, Q. fastigiata, Q, lanata, Q. lusticanica, Q. pedunculata and Q. sessififlora.
  • 1907 - Quercus canariensis or Algerian Oak planted on the Oak Lawn by Lady Loch (then Governors wife).
  • 1915 - Cronin thinned the oak plantings on the Oak Lawn
  • 1968 - Q. phillyraeoides introduced.
  • 1971 - Q. wislizenii introduced.
  • 1978 - Q. crenata and Q. lobata introduced.
  • 1980 - Q. coccifera introduced.
  • 1981 - Q. fruiticosaQ. suber and Q. laurifolia introduced.
  • 1982 - Q. acuta and Q. muehlenbergii introduced.
  • 1984 - Q. salicina introduced.
  • 1988 - Q. emoryi and Q. engelmannii introduced.
  • 1990 - Q. dumosa introduced.
  • 1992 - Q. agrifolia and Q. bambusifolia introduced.
  • 1995 - Q. mongolica and Q. suberintroduced.
  • 1997 - Q. rubra introduced.
  • 1998 - Q. dentataQ. yunnanensis and Q. agrifolia introduced.
  • 2000 - Q. leucotrichophora introduced.
  • 2005 - Q. douglasii, Q. variabilis, Q. garryana and Q. rugosa introduced.
  • 2007 - Q. dumosa introduced.
  • 2007 - Q. canariensis (Lady Loch Oak) fell and was removed from Melbourne Gardens.