Oak Tree: Meaning, Symbolism, and Significance

Angel Oak Tree near Charleston South Carolina
© iStock.com/Michael Ver Sprill

Written by Angie Menjivar

Updated: October 6, 2023

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These towering trees are constantly giving to their environment. Whether they’re feeding wildlife or transforming into ships and furniture, they are endlessly generous. Left untouched, they thrive for centuries. You may have always had an appreciation for oak trees, or it could be that they have suddenly appeared more frequently in your life. They could appear in a dream, in a book, or may just be a persistent vision. Oak trees have special significance you can uncover. Discover the meaning and symbolism of the mighty oak tree!

What Is an Oak Tree?

Oak trees are of the genus Quercus and are often used for their timber, but they may also be displayed as ornamental trees. Though there are many plants that use the term “oak,” not all of them belong to the same genus as the oak tree. True oak trees are found in different environments, both in the tropics in high elevation as well as in north temperate zones.

The great oak tree serves as a national tree of many countries. It’s revered for its legendary strength and endurance. It’s also prized for its timber as anything made from oak is durable and has antifungal properties. Oak trees are widely used in the furniture industry as well. You can build just about anything including whiskey barrels (which add a woody taste to the spirit). There are about 600 different species of oak trees, and they can all be identified by the shape of their leaves.

Looking up at Southern Live Oak Trees

Oak trees are of the genus


and you can tell each apart by the shape of its leaves.

©Nature’s Charm/Shutterstock.com

Oak Tree: Meaning, Symbolism, and Significance

Longevity and Endurance

Since the beginning of human history, people have built fishing boats, and homes, and even created strong ships to sail the ocean with wood made from oak trees. They mastered the art of wood, and even today there are craftsmen that intimately understand how to handle this special wood. Anything made from oak wood is meant to endure and be long-lasting.

There are a number of items made from oak, including wine barrels, flooring, and some of the best elegant and classic furniture pieces you can find. Considering the longevity of oak wood, the oak tree represents resilience and the ability to withstand whatever comes your way. Even as you change and life refines you further, you continue to shine in new ways.

Strength and Stability

These trees have a life span of up to a thousand years, depending on the species. Since there is no exact retirement age for them, they continue producing about ten million acorns in their lifetime. This means they could produce enough trees for acres and acres to contribute to the ecosystem. Acorns are a source of food for foxes, squirrels, white-tailed deer, rabbits, woodpeckers, and more.

Oak tree from below

Oak trees are enduring trees that live for hundreds and hundreds of years.


The oak tree represents longevity but also stability. You can rely on an oak tree to keep producing acorns, feeding the animals around it, and proliferating. These are towering trees that grow, on average, between 50 and 70 feet tall. However, some oak trees can grow well over 100 feet tall. Their presence alone speaks of strength and stability.

Justice and Power

There is one tree in Mandeville, Louisiana that is estimated to be 1,500 years old. It is owned by Carole Hendra Doby who named it “Seven Sisters Oak.” Although there has been a steady decline in oak trees, these trees continue to represent power and justice. Even in the face of adversity, the oak tree offers a reminder to believe that justice will prevail. This is an enduring tree that courageously continues giving throughout its life, demonstrating its inherent power. The symbolism of this tree reminds you to hold steadfast in your own innate power and to have faith.


When farmers think of truffles, they do not think of planting truffles. Instead, they start planting oak trees as they create favorable soil conditions for the truffles to start growing. So, oak trees are associated with fertility. In fact, Pliny the Elder, a naturalist and philosopher, described how the druids incorporated oak trees into their remedies.

To resolve the issue of infertility, they would celebrate the mistletoe that would emerge from oak trees. Then, they would use it to prepare their sacred remedies. These trees continue to represent fertility as they are known for their symbiotic relationships, not just in feeding the animals that surround them, but also as helpers that assist with the growth of truffles. This is a long-lasting and giving tree that supports life and is capable of reproducing itself.

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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