In comparison with the giant oak growing in the village of Verkhnyaya Khortitsa, near Zaporozhye, ordinary trees look like dwarfs. It seems very closely to the fifteen of its trunks (each of them is a large tree), which are located in a circle on a thick squat stem. Like the handle of a huge umbrella, he supports with these tree trunks a thick, majestic crown.
How many historical events have made noise, how many human generations have changed over the age of this rare centenarian. The fierce Tatar-Mongol hordes swept Russia and after many years subsided into the deserts of the East, the Cossack glory of the Zaporizhzhya Sich died down, the lights of the Dnieper socialist buildings lit up, but it is growing, it will never be saturated with life. This oak is over 800 years old.
© Jean-Pol GRANDMONT
Science claims that in the old days Dnieper was completely covered with centuries-old oak forests. But the Khortytsky veteran, who has survived many years of fierce struggle with the elements, is still standing among the steppes of Ukraine.
With excitement, which majestic monuments always cause, we read on a plaque by the tree: “Zaporizhzhya oak is a natural monument of the 13th century. The height of the tree is 36 meters. The diameter of the crown is 43 meters. The circumference of the barrel is 632 centimeters. "
Tradition says that this giant enjoyed special respect among the Zaporozhye Cossacks. More than one generation of them rested in the shadow of his huge crown, bearing plans for their campaigns. The legend claims that it was here that Bogdan Khmelnitsky gathered his troops to fight the Polish gentry and here, speaking on a campaign, took his oath "knights". In parting with the brave twin cities, he urged them to be as unshakable in battle as this oak.
The legend stubbornly adheres to the surrounding villages, as if it were under this oak that the Cossacks, announcing the entire district with heroic laughter, composed their famous letter to the Turkish Sultan.
Veterans like Zaporozhye oak can be found in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, near Leningrad, in the Voronezh Region and in other areas of our country.
The oldest tree in Europe is considered to be an almost 2,000-year-old oak tree growing in Lithuania, in the town of Stelmuže. And in the city of Ladushkin, the Kaliningrad region, there is still an 800-year-old Grunwald oak - a witness to the defeat of the Teutonic knights by Polish and Russian-Lithuanian troops (1410). Three 900-year-old giant oaks, called the trees of friendship, are widely known in Poland. They grow near Poznan, and each has its own name: Lyakh, Czech, Russian.
But the oaks, which were witnesses of closer historical events.
© Brass hat
During the years of World War II, our partisans more than once rescued three hundred-year-old oak trees growing in the Kirovohrad region, in the Khirov forestry. Local underground workers hid here during the raids of the Nazis, from here the partisans were observing the enemy. Now these trees are called partisan oaks.
Not far from the mining health resort of Svyatogorsk (Donetsk region), at the edge of the wide state protective forest belt Belgorod-Don, another giant stands lonely, on which a memorial plaque and a portrait of a still young Soviet officer are mounted. On the blackboard is the inscription: "At this point in August 1943, artillery officer Vladimir Maximovich Kamyshov heroically died". When crossing the Seversky Donets River, Kamyshov, under the hurricane fire of the Nazis, set up an observation post in the crown of the oak dominating the area and corrected the fire from here. An enemy shell mortally wounded a brave officer. The branches and trunk of the oak were badly damaged. He stubbornly fought with death, and only in the twentieth year his strength was exhausted. But dry oak stands like a majestic monument on the grave of the hero.
In recent years, the old good tradition has regained our citizenship rights - to celebrate significant dates with tree planting. And oak, as the most revered forest inhabitant, is given preference. In the heart of Moscow, the Kremlin, a young space-oak is growing, planted on April 14, 1961 in memory of the first steps of man in space. And in Leningrad, on the central avenue of the Forestry Park
academies carefully grow as many as three "space"Tree: two oaks planted in honor of the son and father of Tsiolkovsky, and the third - Gagarin's oak. K. E. Tsiolkovsky and Yu.A. Gagarin may not have been here, but the young forester who brilliantly graduated from the Forest Institute (now the Leningrad Forestry Engineering Academy), E. I. Tsiolkovsky, the father of the great forerunner of the space age, participated in the creation this park alley.
«Among the elements that ancestors worshiped for strength, goodness or beauty, there were plant giants, similar to those oaks that had recently risen on Khortitsa", - says Professor Vikhrov from the novel" in his fiery speech-hymn to his green friendRussian forest»Leonid Leonov.
Few trees enjoy such love and honor among all peoples as oak. Slavs, ancient Greeks, Romans at the dawn of their history worshiped this tree, often reaching 1000-1500 years of age, attributed to it miraculous properties, composed myths, legends, songs and epics about it. In Greece, the oak branch was the emblem of strength, power and nobility. Oak wreaths were awarded to soldiers who performed outstanding feats.
By deifying the oak, the ancient Greeks dedicated it to Apollo, the god of light, the patron of the arts. Mighty centuries-old trees were often proclaimed saints. Under them sacrifices were made, oracles were broadcasting, the priests interpreted in their own way the noise of branches and the rustling of oak leaves, making up the prophecies of many pilgrims.
In ancient Rome, the oak was dedicated to the supreme god - Jupiter, and acorns were called divine fruits. The famous Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote that oaks, "untouched for centuries, of the same age as the universe, they amaze with their immortal fate, as the greatest miracle of the world."
They attributed the oak to the number of holy trees and the Slavs. They dedicated it to the powerful god of thunder and lightning - Perun. In ancient chronicles you can find references to the Perunov tree. Under the canopy of oaks, the Slavs sacrificed to the gods, convened military councils, made important government decisions.
It is not surprising that our ancestors honored this tree. Indeed, the history of ancient Slavic tribes has always been closely connected with the forest. And where they lived, the forests were, as a rule, oak. Oak trees served as a source of nutrition, protection from the raging elements and even peculiar fortresses in wars with numerous enemies.
© Jean-Pol GRANDMONT
There is even a scientific hypothesis that people owe the appearance of bread in temperate latitudes to oak. Archaeological scientists from different countries of the world suggest that the first bread plant could not be modern cereals - rye or wheat, but the same oak. A series of data suggests that people used abundant acorns to make bread in very ancient times. When excavating Tripoli settlements in the territory of modern Kirovograd region, Soviet archaeologists found acorns dried and ground into flour, from which they baked bread more than 5000 years ago.
Centuries and millennia pass, and people's interest in the forest giant does not decrease.
Foresters and botanists can tell a lot about this tree. However, under the word "oak"They mean the whole genus, uniting about 600 species. Such a large family also occupies the corresponding living space. She has mastered vast territories not only on the Euro-Asian continent, but also in North America and even in Africa.
The names of all types of oak are difficult to enumerate: swamp and black, red and mountain, stone and fluffy, cork and petiolate, Georgian and Virgin ... In our forests, experts count about 20 types of oak. A relatively large collection of them (about 25 species and forms) was collected at the Forest-Steppe Experimental Station (Lipetsk Region), in the Nikitsky Botanical Garden, in the Sochi Arboretum.
The oaks that we find in the forests of Central Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, in parks and on the outskirts of Moscow, Orel, Voronezh, Kiev and other cities are, like the giant Zaporozhye oak, one of the most valuable species in our country - oak oak. Its Latin name is Quercus robur, which literally means: a beautiful, strong tree.
This is about him, about the pedunculated oak, numerous studies of foresters, dendrologists, and botanists have been published; it is most often painted by artists and poets.
© Andrzej Barabasz
Longevity and majestic beauty won oak love and appreciation of millions of people. The great benefits brought by this giant to humanity are great. Widely, for example, its bark is used in the leather industry. Oak leaves are a good food for one of the suppliers of natural silk, oak silkworm. Acorns are not wasted either: coffee substitutes are now made from acorns, and they are fed to pigs.
But all these are only secondary benefits brought by the oak to people. Its main wealth is wood. It is hardly worthwhile to speak in detail about the high quality and exceptional value of oak wood, and how long and reliably serve people various household items. Once again, its extraordinary resilience was confirmed by a recent find near the village of Shchuchye on the banks of the Don. Under a six-meter layer of river sediment, an oak shuttle was found, lying in the ground for about 4000 years. Made of a solid oak trunk at the end of the Stone Age or at the beginning of the Bronze Age, this canoe of very impressive size (more than a meter wide and 8 meters long) has been perfectly preserved to this day. Well preserved even openings for eight oarlocks. The unique exhibit is the pride of the Historical Museum in Moscow.
Estimated by our ancestors, the beauty of oak is improved by people from generation to generation. Do not be surprised if you meet a giant with a columnar crown, like a slender cypress, or with a spherical and even weeping, like a willow. Other oaks have purple, golden or silver foliage. All these are forms selected over the millennia by the painstaking work of many generations of obscure breeders.
Soviet scientists are also very interested in oak. Professor L.F. Pravdin invested especially much effort in the development in the USSR of the most valuable forms of cork oaks. Professor S. S. Pyatnitsky, Corresponding Member of the V. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences, created many new forms of oak. Now they grow both in Ukraine and in Moscow at the Forestry pavilion at the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy and are distinguished by their rapid growth, resistance to adverse conditions, and originality of botanical features. New oak forms are named by S. Pyatnitsky oaks of Timiryazev, Michurin, Komarov, Vysotsky.
Each tree has its own characteristics. Foresters have long learned that in the early years, oak grows very slowly, as if fearing something. At this time, it turns out that the oak is preparing for centuries of life, builds a solid foundation, and puts its powerful roots deep in the ground. Only from 8-10 years of age does the oak form an intensive formation of the aerial part - the trunk and branches. Since then, it grows annually to a height of half a meter, sometimes more, the diameter of the trunk of the oak thickens only a few millimeters. Unlike many other trees, oak can grow twice a year (start growing), forming the so-called Ivanov shoots. Under favorable conditions, oak has three growth.
© Jean-Pol GRANDMONT
Oak grows better with lateral shading and poorly tolerates shading from above. But he is not afraid of either severe frosts of the middle zone, or prolonged droughts of the south.
To grow an oak tree, two human generations are not always enough. Only individual trees in the 25-30th year of life give the first few acorns. To wait for plentiful, constant harvests, many, many years are needed. Happiness does not always fall on the share of those who planted acorns to wait for the harvest of trees grown from them. Such people work for the future.
Links to materials:
- S. Ivchenko - Book about trees