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Plant Focus

Quercus macdougallii
A rare oak endemic to the Sierra Juárez in Oaxaca

As Sweet As it Gets

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Joan Montserrat

Published May 2021 in International Oaks No. 32: 60–74


BalanoTrees, a nursery created by Joan Montserrat and Francesc Ribera specialized in the selection and production of oaks that bear sweet acorns, has been locating and cataloging oaks that bear sweet acorns across the Iberian Peninsula and on the island of Mallorca for five years.

The idea that acorns were an important food source in human history and proto-history is generally accepted today but explanations as to why they were abandoned vary; some stressing the presumed difficulties in their cultivation and others the ideological component represented by cereal agriculture in developing central states.

Reviving interest in  acorns-as-food has  gained considerable momentum in  the recent past and, in this context, the Iberian Peninsula’s historical dehesa model has attracted much attention.

The present paper explores different aspects of the acorn-as-food, starting with a not-so-simple question: what is a truly “sweet acorn”?


dehesa,  acorn  consumption,  forgotten  foods,  holm  oak,  Quercus  ilex, Q. rotundifolia, Q. ilex subsp. ballota, BalanoTrees


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