Quercus ithaburensis ssp. macrolepsis

Synon:Quercus macrolepsis

Valonia oak                                                                                                   βελανίδιά

Fagaceae - beech family                                                                                        Dicot.


The Valonia oak is almost certainly the sacred oak of Zeus and the tree of the mythical oak woods of ancient Greece, where the gods and humans consorted. It is valued not only for its timber but also the black dye from its acorn caps, used for tanning leather, and the acorns themselves, which are a source of food for both animals (loved by pigs) and humans. Acorns have been eaten in Greece since prehistoric times and the valonia oak was described by Theophrastus as the sweet kind (for sweetness is that of the kind called Vallonia oak).

(The owner of the garden, in which this beautiful specimen tree grows, told me that when she was young, she would use the dye to give herself beautiful black hair.)


velania from Greek name for the tree velanidi (βελανίδιά)

acorn = velanidi (βελανίδι)

Greek trees have the ending ia (ιά) added to the name of the fruit which it bears

Zeus and the oak tree

Dodoni, the most ancient oracle of Greece dating back to 2000BCE, was originally dedicated to the earth goddess, Diona, but was later dedicated to Zeus. The story tells of how two priestesses escaped captivity of the Phoenicians by changing into black doves, Peleiades. One landed in Libya and one in an oak tree surrounded by the amphitheatrical mountains in Dodoni. In human voice she said that a shrine to Zeus should be set up there.

Zeus married Diona and they lived in the branches of oak tree communicating by fluttering the leaves. Their words were translated into human speech by the Peleiades, who lived in the dark hollows of the tree.

The oak became sacred to Zeus.

The oak tree growing in the supposed site of the sacred tree of Zeus, Dodoni

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