Around, the first land plants appeared. 30 million years later, plants developed roots, leaves seeds and secondary wood. That was when forests first began to appear. I am throwing the word “million” around here. I don’t know if you can take it in. I can’t, not really. That’s why, when we lose a species, or the structure that can support life it is such a big loss. It takes millions of years to evolve.
Oaks live side by side with pines and firs but they are a younger branch of the tree of life. The gymnosperms, the conifers–pines and firs– are much older, arising around the Carboniferous, about 300 million years ago.
Then here is another amazing thing. They diversified. That gave them the evolutionary advantage. The Division or Phylum Angiosperms (flowering plants) replaced conifers as the dominant trees only around 60–100 million years ago. Only. Mere youngsters. Then they started to further complicate things, developing more specialized plant parts, pollen, leaves and more orderly arrangements of their roots, stems and leaves. Over a few more million years, the Oak would evelove into 2 clades or divisions called Eudicots and then the Rosids before coming to its first ranked division, the Order: Fagales.
This group includes the Birch family, Betulaceae, the walnut family Juglandaceae, and many others, including the beech family, Fagaceae. From there, it is further subdivided down into the Genus Quercus. All the gloroius oaks of the world are in this genus and they are found in many states and may countries.
Of special note are Quercus robur (Pedunculate or common oak) and Quercus petraea (Sessile oak). These are the oaks that grew all over Europe, and which inspired the druid Oak Knowers. More later!