Quercus calliprinos, Kermes Oak, Palestine oak,
بلوط، سنديان دائم الخضره ,אלון מצוי

Scientific name:  Quercus calliprinos Webb
Common name:  Kermes Oak, Palestine oak
Hebrew name:  אלון מצוי
Arabic name:  بلوط، سنديان دائم الخضره
Plant Family:  Fagaceae, אלוניים

Native plants and trees, bulaklak at katutubong mga halaman

Life form:  Phanerophyte, tree
Stems:  To 20 m
Leaves:  Alternate, entire, dentate or serrate, spinescent; a stellate pubescence beneath
Flowers:  Green
Fruits / pods:  Acorn ovoid, 2 cm long, 1.5 wide; enclosed 1/2 to 2/3 by cup; cup with spiny, stiff, spreading or recurved scales
Flowering Period:   February, March, April
Habitat:   Mediterranean maquis and forest
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands, Montane vegetation of Mt. Hermon
Chorotype:   Mediterranean
Summer shedding:  Perenating

Quercus calliprinos, Kermes Oak, Palestine oak, אלון מצוי, بلوط، سنديان دائم الخضره


Derivation of the botanical name:
Quercus, Latin for oak.
calliprinos, callos, καλλοϛ, beauty; prinos, πρινοϛ, a tree, variously ascribed to Quercus ilex, Quercus coccifera, Ilex aquifolium; beautiful oak.
The different Hebrew words used for oak in the Bible (O.T.) are "êl", "êlon", "îlan", "allah", "allôn", and "êlâh" or "âlâhim" (see: pistacia).
  • The standard author abbreviation Webb is used to indicate Philip Barker Webb (1793 – 1854), an English botanist.
The Palestine Oak (Quercus calliprinos) is closely related to the Kermes Oak (Quercus coccifera) of the western Mediterranean, and is treated as a subspecies or variety of it by some botanists.
The Kermes Oak is distinguished from it by its smaller size (usually shrubby, not over 10 m) and smaller acorns less than 2 cm diameter.
The Quercus calliprinos is the most predominant of the three oak species growing in Israel; the others are the Tabor (Quercus ithaburensis) and Aleppo (Quercus infectoria) oaks.
The Quercus calliprinos is found on the most common type of mountain soil, the Terra Rossa. The parent materials of Terra Rossa are dolomite and hard limestone, the soil depth varies from shallow to deep (0.5-2m). It enjoys a xeric moisture regime, deep in hilltops and shallow in sloppy mountainous areas. The soil has a reddish brown color. This tree is the major evergreen element in the oak-pistachio woodlands of Israel’s Mediterranean climatic zone. They usually appear as a large bush, though some tall individual trees do exist, particularly those that remained for many years because they were revered by local residents as “holy trees.”
Apart from the Quercus calliprinos, the dominant constituent of this oak forest, are the Pistacia palaestina, Laurus nobilis, Arbutus andrachne, Crataegus aronia and Ceratonia siliqua.
The pine trees form the upper story of the forest while the Quercus calliprinos and other evergreen shrubs form the lower one.
A Quercus calliprinos forest grows in the areas at an altitude of higher than 200 meters and in the damper parts of the mountain. There are beautiful groves on the slopes above Kibbutz Yagur, near Nahal Kelah (known as Little Switzerland), and in Keren Hacarmel. The trees are relatively small and have only one trunk. The leaves are stiff, shiny dark green with sharp spines around the edges. On the same tree are male and female flowers: The male flowers grow as a catkin, a long cylindrical cluster of small flowers without petals. The female flower grows as a nut called an acorn, borne in a cup-like structure known as a cupule.

Oaks were one of the sources of tannin necessary for tanning hides. Tanning is mentioned in Acts 10:6.

The Kermes Oak was historically important as the food plant of the Kermes insect from which a red dye was obtained and used toward the end of the second Holy Temple (70 CE).
The color red, translated as 'scarlet,' or 'crimson,' in Hebrew is usually referred to as 'shani' or more fully as 'tolaat shani.' (In Chronicles, the color is referred to as karmil: "with purple and blue and crimson yarn", II Chron. 2:6,13).

The "scarlet worm", Tola`ath shani, "scarlet," Cermes vermilio is a scale-insect which feeds upon the oak and it is not a worm.
The female is wingless and adheres to its favorite plant by its long, sucking beak, by which it extracts the sap on which it lives. After once attaching itself it remains motionless, and when dead its body shelters the eggs which have been deposited beneath it.
The males, which are smaller than the females, pass through a complete metamorphosis and develop wings.
The dye is made from the dried bodies of the females.
The word 'crimson' comes from kermes, although the color produced was more of an orange-red. The Cermes vermilio also gave rise to one other word for red, vermillion (Latin "worm-colored", from vermiculus, the Latin term for the kermes).
Vermilion, in Hebrew shashar, also appears two times in the Bible (Ezek. 23:14 and Jer. 22:14).
This red color was early known; "…and took a scarlet thread" (Gen 38:2). It was one of the colors of the ephod (Exo 28:6), the girdle (Exo 28:8), and the breastplate (Exo 28:15) of the high priest. It is also mentioned in various other connections (Jos 2:18; Sa2 1:24; Lam 4:5; Nah 2:3).
A scarlet robe was in mockery placed on our Lord (Mat 27:28; Luk 23:11 Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool (Isa 1:18).


Scarlet and crimson were the firmest of dyes, and thus not easily washed out. In the Scriptures the species of oak are not distinguished from one another:

Bible resources:
  1. Genesis 35:4
    So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. Genesis 35:3-5 (in Context) Genesis 35 (Whole Chapter) Genesis 35:8
    Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth.
  2. Joshua 24:26
    And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the LORD.
  3. Judges 6:11
    The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.
  4. Judges 6:19
    Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.
  5. 2 Samuel 18:9
    Now Absalom happened to meet David’s men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom’s hair got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going.
  6. 2 Samuel 18:10
    When one of the men saw what had happened, he told Joab, “I just saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree.”
  7. 2 Samuel 18:14
    Joab said, “I’m not going to wait like this for you.” So he took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree.
  8. 1 Kings 13:14
    and rode after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” “I am,” he replied.
  9. Psalm 29:9
    The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
  10. Psalm 56:1
    [ Psalm 56 ] For the director of music. To the tune of “A Dove on Distant Oaks.” Of David. A miktam. When the Philistines had seized him in Gath. Be merciful to me, my God, for my enemies are in hot pursuit; all day long they press their attack.
  11. Isaiah 1:29
    “You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks in which you have delighted; you will be disgraced because of the gardens that you have chosen.
  12. Isaiah 1:30
    You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water.
  13. Isaiah 2:13
    for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty, and all the oaks of Bashan,
  14. Isaiah 6:13
    And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”
  15. Isaiah 44:14
    He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
  16. Isaiah 57:5
    You burn with lust among the oaks and under every spreading tree; you sacrifice your children in the ravines and under the overhanging crags.
  17. Isaiah 61:3
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
  18. Ezekiel 6:13
    And they will know that I am the LORD, when their people lie slain among their idols around their altars, on every high hill and on all the mountaintops, under every spreading tree and every leafy oak—places where they offered fragrant incense to all their idols.
  19. Ezekiel 27:6
    Of oaks from Bashan they made your oars; of cypress wood from the coasts of Cyprus they made your deck, adorned with ivory.
  20. Hosea 4:13
    They sacrifice on the mountaintops and burn offerings on the hills, under oak, poplar and terebinth, where the shade is pleasant. Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution and your daughters-in-law to adultery.
  21. Amos 2:9
    “Yet I destroyed the Amorites before them, though they were tall as the cedars and strong as the oaks. I destroyed their fruit above and their roots below.
  22. Zechariah 11:2
    Wail, you juniper, for the cedar has fallen; the stately trees are ruined! Wail, oaks of Bashan; the dense forest has been cut down!

Quercus calliprinos, Kermes Oak, Palestine oak, אלון מצוי,بلوط، سنديان دائم الخضره


Quercus calliprinos, Kermes Oak, Palestine oak, אלון מצוי, بلوط، سنديان دائم الخضره


Quercus calliprinos, Kermes Oak, Palestine oak, אלון מצוי, بلوط، سنديان دائم الخضره