Characteristics of Aleppo Oak Tree (Quercus infectoria) in the Wild

Quercus infectoria
Aleppo Oak or Manjakani (Quercus infectoria) is a species of the oak tree that has been used for centuries in Asia traditionally for treatment. The tree is native to southern Europe (Greece and the Eastern Aegean Islands) and the Middle East (Turkey, Cyprus, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Lebanon, Syria, and Israel). It is also found growing in South and Southwest Asia.

The name “Manjakani” itself is used in Malaysia to refer to Galls (a type of swelling growth in the external tissue of plants). Galls from the Manjakani tree have been used for hundreds of years to soften the skin and make black ink dyes.

 

Quercus infectoria Galls
Source : flickr.com/Ricardo

These galls appear on the young branches of the Aleppo Oak tree when the wasp of the gall stings the tree and stores their larvae. The chemical reaction of a wasp sting causes abnormalities in the tree and causes small, hard balls.

Aleppo Oak galls have also been pharmacologically documented to have astringent, antidiabetic, antitremorine, local anesthetic, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, larvicidal, and anti-inflammatory activities.

Various pharmacological activities of this tree might support the efficacy of the preparation of Aleppo Oak extract which is widely used in Malaysia to treat various health problems since a few decades ago. Nutgalls have been pharmacologically documented in their antiamoebic, anticariogenic and anti-inflammatory activities, to treat skin infections and digestive disorders.

 

Characteristics of Aleppo Oak Leaf

Quercus infectoria Leaf
Source : flickr.com/Paco Garin

Short-stemmed leaves about 3-4 cm, each leaf has 5-7 cm long and 3-4 cm wide, stiff, smooth, uneven at the base, wavy at the edges, and downy at the bottom.

Geographically, the shape of the leaves varies, for species originating from Lebanon, the leaves are relatively wide at the end.

 

Characteristics of Aleppo Oak Flower

Quercus infectoria Flower
Source : flickr.com/Chris Kirby-Lambert

Aleppo oak monoecious flowers (male or female flowers are different), but both sexes are in the same tree and pollinated by the wind.

 

Characteristics of Aleppo Oak Fruit

Quercus infectoria Fruit
Source : flickr.com/HEN-Magonza

The fruit is solitary or paired, tuberous, elongated ovoid, 2-4 cm long, about 2 cm in diameter, and light brown.

 

Characteristics of the Aleppo Oak Tree

Quercus infectoria Tree
Source : biodiversitycyprus.blogspot.com

Unlike most other oak trees, the Aleppo oak only has a height of 2-3 meters in the wild and it forms a large bush with crooked branches.

In its habitat, Aleppo oak trees grow at an altitude of 1,800 m above sea level. He prefers moist and heavy soils such as clay, acid soils, neutral soils, and alkaline soils. The tree can grow in a bit of shade but does not tolerate shade.

Historically, Aleppo oak has many uses for medicine, especially traditional medicine. Starting from the bark, leaves, until the fruit has an important role in the raw materials for the manufacture of modern medicine today.

 

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