Quercus ilex | Evergreen Oak



Conservation status

Not Assessed

First reported in the wild



Invasive species - risk of Medium Impact

Irish status

Occasionally present, casual, vagrant, migratory

Introduction pathways - 1

Escape from Confinement

Introduction pathways subclass - 1

Ornamental purpose

Invasive score


NAPRA Ireland risk assessed


Species Biology


Evergreen broadleaved, oak tree up to 25m tall, 1.4m in diameter with thick, leathery leaves, 4-10cm in length and varying in shape from oval to lanceolate (Booy et al., 2015). Acorns small, 1.5-2cm long, with a felted cup covering one third to half the acorn (Booy et al., 2015).


Outcompetes and displaces native vegetation (Booy et al., 2015; Preston et al., 2004), as well as potentially being a vector for the further spread of Phytophthora ramorum (Sudden Oak death) (Denman et al., 2005).


Woodland, forest and other wooded land; Constructed, industrial or other artificial habitats; Regularly or recently cultivated agricultural, horticultural or domestic habitat


Acorns dispersed by Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius) & small rodents (Gomez, 2003).

Pathway and vector description

Cultivated in Britain since the 16th century (Preston et al., 2004), there is no record for the first introduction of this species to Ireland. Widely planted as an garden tree or hedging plant it is widely available in garden centres and nurseries. Unknown if it is spreading naturally in the wild in Ireland.

Mechanism of impact


Broad environment


Habitat description

Planted in gardens and parks but also found in natural and semi natural woodlands (Preston et al., 2004).

Species group


Native region

Europe, Africa

Similar species

Quercus cerris

Quercus rubra


World distribution(GBIF)

Irish distribution

Established - Widespread but localised. Believed to be spreading in Britain (Booy et al., 2015; Preston et al., 2004), it is unclear if the spread in Ireland is real or merely a consequence of recording effort.

Native distribution

Native to the Mediterranean region of Europe & North Africa (Preston et al., 2004).

Temporal change

Date of first record category


Fifty year date category


Records submitted to Data Centre in 2021

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How can you help

Report any sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.



Preston, C.D., Pearman, D. A. & Dines, T. D. (2002). New atlas of the British and Irish flora. An atlas of the vascular plants of Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, Oxford University Press. Booy, O., Wade, M. & Roy, H. (2015) A Field Guide to Invasive Plants & Animals in Britain. Bloomsbury. Gómez, J. M. (2003). Spatial patterns in long-distance dispersal of Quercus ilex acorns by jays in a heterogeneous landscape. Ecography, 26(5), 573-584. Denman, S., Kirk, S. A., Brasier, C. M., Barton, V. C., Hughes, K. J. D., & Webber, J. F. (2005). Phytophthora ramorum on Quercus ilex in the United Kingdom. Plant Disease, 89(11), 1241-1241.