There is an old rhyme that runs ‘Turn your cloakes for Faerie Folks are in old Oakes’, and oak is also one of the ‘Fairy Tree Triad’ of Great Britain.
Oak is known to be ‘King of the Forest’ – a single tree can live to be incredibly ancient and grow to a tremendous girth. One hollow oak was 20 metres round at the base – ample enough in fact for it to contain an alehouse!
The Greenman is more often than not depicted wreathed in Oak leaves, and acorns with a face drawn on them are considered lucky as they contain his spirit and the seed of potential. It was believed Oakmen lived in saplings sprouted from felled Oaks. They are unpleasant creatures who take delight in offering seemingly delicious food to travellers which is actually glamoured poisonous fungi.
There are several well known ‘Fairy Oaks’, individual trees with their own stories relating to the Fae. One such is found in Flintshire (Wales) – in the 18th Century a couple left their baby under its boughs believing the child to be a changeling. The next morning however they found the baby still there, thus it couldn’t be a changeling otherwise its Faerie parents would have taken it away.