Holm Oak (Quercus ilex)

Holm Oak (Quercus ilex)

View More Images Below

Common Name(s): Holm Oak, Holly Oak

Scientific Name: Quercus ilex

Distribution: Mediterranean Basin

Tree Size: 65-85 ft (20-25 m) tall, 3-4 ft (1-1.2 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 50 lbs/ft3 (800 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .62, .80

Janka Hardness: 1,610 lbf (7,150 N)

Modulus of Rupture: No data available*

Elastic Modulus: No data available*

Crushing Strength: No data available*

*Values most likely very similar to White Oak

Shrinkage:Radial: 4.6%, Tangential: 8.4%, Volumetric: 13.0%, T/R Ratio: 1.8

Color/Appearance: Has a light to medium brown color, though there can be a fair amount of variation in color.

Grain/Texture: Has medium-to-large pores and a fairly coarse grain.

Rot Resistance: Good rot resistance: frequently used in boatbuilding applications.

Workability: Easy to glue, and takes stain and finishes very well.

Odor: Has a tell-tale smell that is common to most oaks. Most find it appealing.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, oak has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation, as well as asthma-like symptoms. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Rarely if ever imported, Holm Oak is likely only available in or around its natural range surrounding the Mediterraenean Basin. Prices are likely to be comparable to other native oaks, such as English Oak.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Tools, cabinetry, furniture, wine barrels, turned objects, and firewood.

Comments: The term “holm” oak is another word for “holly,” so named because the foliage of Quercus ilex resembles Holly. (The tree is also sometimes known as Evergreen Oak, since it keeps its leaves year round, with old leaves falling off after the new ones appear. Holm Oak falls into the white oak group, and shares many of the same traits as White Oak (Quercus alba).

Related Species:

Related Articles:

Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the wood sample of this wood species.

Holm Oak (Quercus ilex)

Holm Oak (sanded)

Holm Oak (sealed)

Holm Oak (sealed)

Holm Oak (endgrain)

Holm Oak (endgrain)



  1. Harold Hoogenboom April 10, 2018 at 3:45 am - Reply

    Hi Tomas, thank you for this very important info. I’m from the Netherlands and I’m also sure that the values from wood database are far from correct. It is indeed much harder and dense as they describe it. In the north of Europe it grows in England that I know of, but it can’t be compared to holmoaks in southern Europe for sure. I’m surprised that wood database didn’t answer your comment after more then a year or even bother to correct the values for holmoak. It’s an amazing wood. In the Netherlands it’s used in windmills for centuries. A friend of mine who is from Portugal decribes it as the hardest wood he has ever seen.

    • Tim Germain October 22, 2018 at 4:06 am - Reply

      i’m mot a wood technician but rather a designer-maker. i just made a box for the ashes of my mate jerry out of holm oak that we got from a local park back in 2015, hence reasonably well seasoned as it was cut into 3/4″ planks.

      from working with it, i can say it machines as if it were even harder than english oak, it feels even denser and the silvergrain is quite magnificent

      unfortunately, given its use this time, i am not going to be able to keep an eye on how well it ages but i would be interested to know more re its suitability for cabinet making….. does it have a tendency to split as it dries out fully in a modern, centrally-heated home, for example?

  2. tomas lainas January 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    hi! im really sorry to say so, but i cant help noticing the values for holm oak are not relevant to the species Quercus ilex that grows in Spain. i assume its not easy to find relevant information in english, but since this tremendously heavy and hard wood is a tree very common to Spain, it is possible to find information in Spanish. the only drawback is they do not use the Janka test, but the Monnin wood hardness test. the hardness value of Quecus Ilex is 14.3 – measured by the Madrid Polytechnical university. in Spanish Hollyoak is Encina.

    a link to the information paper from the Polytechnical university of Madrid, Spain. https://oa.upm.es/30638/1/maderasFRONDOSASespa%C3%B1a.pdf

Leave A Comment