This list is restricted to trees which we found at Le Ripe on our arrival and excludes the (now) wild fruit trees such as fig, cherry and plum planted or at least harvested by our predecessors. All except the juniper and cypress are deciduous.
downy oak - Quercus pubescens - roverella
Typical of hill country from the Alps to Sicily, in Tuscany the downy oak replaces the Mediterranean woods or macchia above a certain altitude. It has been characterized as a 'frugal' oak since it survives well in dry locations with poor, lime-rich, stony soil. The downy oak grows slowly and can live to several hundred years; it is not very tall (about 20 metres max) and has traditionally been used for firewood and to make charcoal. Downy oak acorns are much loved by wild boar and fed to domestic pigs, but were historically used for human consumption in times of famine.
The oak's name derives from the fine down which covers its younger leaves and the acorn stalks. In regions with milder temperatures, like ours, it is easy to distinguish in autumn and winter as it is the only oak to keep its leaves (which turn pale brown), sometimes until early spring.