The English oak grows up to 40 metres high and has a broad, irregular crown. The bark is smooth and reddish brown at first, later dark grey and finely cracked. The leaves are deeply lobed and short-stalked, with two small lobes at the base. The flowers appear in mid-spring and their fruit, known as acorns, ripen in autumn. Acorns are around 2 centimetres long and grow in small clusters in shallow, scaly caps on stalks. Some birds and animals, such as jays and squirrels, bury acorns in hoards, so that groups of seedlings are sometimes seen.
The English oak is common throughout Europe, apart from the far north. It is planted for forestry, producing a durable wood used for furniture making. It is also cultivated as an ornamental tree in parks and arboretums.