What we grow - Biodiversity



The term acorn (From the Latin “glans glandis”) indicates the fruit of oaks (Trees belonging to the genus Quercus in Europe, Lithocarpus in Asia and North America, Cyclobalanopsis in Asia – Fagaceae family). The species present in Italy, classified according to the shape of the fruit, are the following:

  1. Acorn with a sweet or slightly bitter taste and internal color of the hairless dome
  • Holm oak or elce (Quercus ilex), a typical tree of Etna, evergreen and majestic, it can be found from coastal areas to mountains (Up to altitudes of 1800 m a.s.l.);
  • Downy oak (Quercus pubescens), a deciduous tree typical of Etna, keeps its brown leaves even in winter;
  • Durmast (Quercus petraea), deciduous species with quite thick foliage;
  • English oak (Quercus robur), a majestic deciduous species, very common in the northern areas;

2. Acorn with a decidedly bitter taste and internal color of the hairless dome

  • Hungarian oak (Quercus frainetto), fast growing deciduous species with large leaves;
  • Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica), deciduous species with intense green leaves, typical of the milder areas of Piedmont;

3. Acorn with a sweet or slightly bitter flavor and hairless or slightly hairy dome color

  • Turkey oak (Quercus cerris), fast growing deciduous species, very common in the Apennines;
  • Spiny oak (Quercus coccifera), evergreen shrub species, diffused in Liguria, Sicily and Sardinia;
  • Gussone turkey oak (Quercus gussonei), endemic species of Sicily, diffused on the Nebrodi and Madonie;
  • Cork oak (Quercus suber), evergreen species similar to holm oak, widespread in Sardinia (especially along the Tyrrhenian coast) for the production of cork, obtained from the bark that covers both the trunk and the major branches;
  • Fragno or macedonian oak (Quercus trojana), almost evergreen species shrubby, diffused in Apulia and Basilicata;

It has a strong mythological and spiritual symbolism, in fact, in Celtic mythology it had an important role, as a symbol of immortality and fecundity. In the Jewish tradition it was a sacred fruit and in many ancient peoples it was worn as an amulet for protection in terms of health and vigor. The acorn was a symbol of life, fertility, virility and youth. In the Bible, the acorn recurs often, especially in the Old Testament.


It is a dry and indehiscent fruit of the achene type, only partially covered by a dome and normally containing a single seed (Rarely two), with an almost cylindrical shape, whose morphological characteristics constitute an important diagnostic element in the determination of the Quercus genus at a specific level. Acorns are an important part of the diet of many animals, such as birds, small mammals and large animals such as wild pigs, bears and deers. Once they were used as a feed for pigs due to the high nutritional power of the fruit, while today it is considered the main food for pigs in Spain and Italy (Calabria and Sicily) for the production of fine quality ham such as that of Black Pig.


Acorns contain about 50-60% of carbohydrates, 6% of proteins, 25-35% of mainly unsaturated fats. It is an inexhaustible source of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, B vitamins (Especially B6 and B9), excellent natural restorers. Among the microelements, manganese and copper stand out, essential for life and increasingly rare in food flours. The benefits of the acorn are not to be overlooked. It is an excellent natural and anti-tumor bactericide. It works against the pain of the teeth and gums. The juice of the fruit is particularly useful for treating pains related to the menstrual cycle, to increase sexual potency and fight enuresis. Acorn coffee calms cough, bronchitis, asthma and regulates blood pressure. Hot wraps are good for hernia, joint and muscle problems, varicose veins and sciatica. The broth helps fight various stomach ailments, acute and chronic colitis. In fact, the acorn contains tannins with astringent properties. Excessive consumption, however, can create problems linked to poor assimilation of proteins and some vitamins. To reduce the concentration of tannins, it is sufficient to dry the fruits (Recommended time at least 3-4 weeks). Next, to soak for a few days and then boil. Later, after drying, it is kept in hermetically sealed jars, in a dry and humidity-free place.


Oaks develop extensive root systems that start growing rapidly when young. This is also one of the reasons why they are often used to protect watersheds and to consolidate soil. To transplant a fairly developed oak it is necessary to prepare it first, pruning the roots several times, avoiding drastic and large cuts. If it survives the transplant, it will grow very little in the following years as it will initially try to develop only new roots. Paradoxically, in fact, to avoid this type of problem, it is recommended to cultivate an oak in deep pots (To avoid attacks by animals that could eat the seed) starting from the fruit. This could lead to several problems, as the oak roots grow so fast that it may be necessary to repot the plant (It is recommended to select slow-growing species) only after a year of permanence in the same container or, alternatively, planting. in the open field, taking care in this case to water constantly for the first few weeks. Oaks adapt to low-nitrogen soils, while mulching can be done with leaves, dry grass, bark or wood chips.