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Moru oak (Quercus floribunda)

Datasheet

Description
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Common names 

Moru oak, tilonj oak, mohroo, moru, mor

Synonyms 

Quercus dilatata Lindl. ex A. DC.

Description 

The moru oak (Quercus floribunda Lindl. ex A. Camus) is a large evergreen tree from the Himalayan regions.

Morphology

Quercus floribunda has a dense crown, with a straight trunk that can reach a height of 45 m and a diameter up to 2 m. The bark turns dark grey or dark reddish brown with age and exfoliates in irregular woody scales. Moru leaves are shiny green, lanceolate to elliptic, 4-8 cm long, with smooth or spiny margins. Male inflorescences are 8 cm long catkins. Female spikes are 4 cm long. The fruit is a brown, 2 cm long acorn, solitary on previous year’s shoots, ovoid or oblong, with a fine point (Orwa et al., 2009).

Uses

Quercus floribunda is a multipurpose tree that provides fuelwood, charcoal, timber for construction and agricultural implements, and fodder (Orwa et al., 2009; Rawat et al., 2011). It is an important fodder tree in certain areas of the Himalayas, where the trees are extensively lopped for fodder. Young plants and coppice shoots are readily browsed, particularly by goats (Orwa et al., 2009).

Distribution 

Quercus floribunda is native of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Oman and Pakistan but its natural range is the temperate region of the Western Himalayas, from Nepal westwards, at altitudes of 2100-2700 m, descending to about 1700 m, in cool moist areas. It is frost-hardy and favours moist and cool locations with deep and fertile soil. Best growth is on well-drained clay loam. It does not tolerate drought and avoids very dry situations. It tends to be stunted on shallow gravelly soils. It tolerates side shade when young, but growth of older trees is better in the open. Quercus floribunda is frequently found scattered in mixtures with coniferous and broad-leaved trees (Orwa et al., 2009).

Forage management 

Quercus floribunda is generally lopped for fodder. For instance, in Central Himalaya, the foliage is harvested by lopping and involves a person climbing the tree and cutting off branches. The larger branches are left to dry and later collected as fuelwood, while the smaller twigs with the foliage are gathered into bundles and carried back to the village (Makino, 2009).

Environmental impact 

In Central Himalaya, lopping for fodder has been blamed by the authorities for degrading the oak forests beyond their ability to regenerate. However, the practice of lopping tends to decrease as more children go to school, resulting in lower amounts of available labour. Families diversify their source of income, placing less reliance on the forest for their livelihood, allowing it to recover and regenerate. Agricultural expansion may now be more detrimental to forest loss than lopping (Makino, 2009).

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

Information about the composition of the leaves of Quercus floribunda is scarce. The leaves are low in protein (10-12% DM). Fibre content is high (NDF about 60% DM), as is the lignin content (20% DM). Most of the nitrogen (>70%) is bound to NDF (Sharma et al., 2000).

Potential constraints 

The leaves are rich in tannins (up to 10%) (Orwa et al., 2009). Like other oak species, Quercus floribunda can be toxic to livestock. Goats are normally resistant to the toxic effects of oak ingestion and are often used to clear oak from pastures to allow grazing by cattle and sheep. However, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis with bloody diarrhea, caused by the ingestion of Quercus floribunda forage, has been reported in goats in India. Their resistance to oak toxicity cannot, therefore, be considered absolute (Smith et al., 2009).

Ruminants 

Leaves and shoots are extensively lopped for fodder. In a survey of smallholder farmers in the Garhwal Himalaya (Northern Himalaya), Quercus floribunda was judged the top-ranking fodder species in oak-dominated zones, with the best marks for nutritive value and milk production capacity, though the tree was less abundant and less used for fodder than Quercus leucotrichophora (Dhani Arya et al., 2011). In Central Himalaya, fresh green oak foliage is lopped and fed during the summer months (mid-March to mid-June) to stall-fed buffaloes but not to dairy cows and goats, which are fed forest grass (Makino, 2009). In North-Western Himalaya, Quercus floribunda is lopped from November to March to be fed fresh during winter to all types of livestock (Rawat et al., 2011). In Northern Pakistan, the leaves of Quercus incana and Quercus floribunda at higher elevations remain green throughout the winter and are the only source of green foliage for wintering livestock (Inam-Ur-Rahim et al., 2011). The utilization of the leaves depends on local beliefs. In Northern Pakistan, the leaves of Quercus floribunda are fed only to non-milking and non-pregnant goats and cattle because of a belief that they would reduce milk production and induce abortion in pregnant animals (Inam-Ur-Rahim et al., 2011). On the contrary, in Garhwal Himalaya, Quercus floribunda leaves are valued by farmers for dairy and pregnant cattle (Rajwar, 1993).

There is little information available on the nutritional value of moru oak foliage. Data from 1938 show a rather low OM digestibility of about 45%, a figure confirmed more recently by in vitro measurements (Sen, 1938 ; Inam-Ur-Rahim et al., 2011). In a comparison of the nitrogen solubility, protein fractions, tannins and in sacco DM digestibility of 11 tree fodder species commonly available in Shivalik range, India, Quercus floribunda was not cited among the recommended fodders (Sharma et al., 2000).

Poultry 

Early research in Pakistan found that acorns of Quercus floribunda contained a non-toxic oil and recommended them for poultry feeding (Gul et al., 1979Gul et al., 1982). However, no more recent data are available.

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Dry matter % as fed 45.6   38.6 52.5 2  
Crude protein % DM 10.4 1.1 9.6 12.0 4  
Crude fibre % DM 29.1       1  
NDF % DM 59.4   58.8 59.9 2  
ADF % DM 53.5   48.7 58.2 2  
Lignin % DM 21.1       1  
Ether extract % DM 4.2 0.5 3.6 4.5 3  
Ash % DM 5.0 0.4 4.6 5.4 3  
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 19.1         *
               
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Calcium g/kg DM 16.1       1  
Phosphorus g/kg DM 3.0       1  
Manganese mg/kg DM 116       1  
Zinc mg/kg DM 51       1  
Copper mg/kg DM 7       1  
Iron mg/kg DM 143       1  
               
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
Tannins (eq. tannic acid) g/kg DM 98.3       1  
Tannins, condensed (eq. catechin) g/kg DM 50.5   22.0 79.0 2  
               
In vitro digestibility and solubility Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
DM digestibility, pepsin % 41.9       1  
               
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb  
OM digestibility, ruminants % 45.5       1  
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 43.4         *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 8.3         *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 6.7         *
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 44.0       1  

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

References

Dey et al., 2006; Inam-Ur-Rahim et al., 2011; IVRI, 2011; Lukose et al., 2007; Sen, 1938

Last updated on 05/10/2013 00:26:28

References
References 
Datasheet citation 

Tran G., 2016. Moru oak (Quercus floribunda). Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. http://www.feedipedia.org/node/110 Last updated on September 16, 2016, 10:21

English correction by Tim Smith (Animal Science consultant) and Hélène Thiollet (AFZ)