Field Guide

Oak Tree and Leaves

Just as the lion is the King of Beasts, the oak is the King of Trees. Oak leaves can symbolize many things, including strength, endurance, eternity, honor, liberty, hospitality, faith, and virtue. All of these elements combined make the oak a symbol of power of the Christian faith even in times of adversity. The oak, along with the aspen and the holly, is one of the trees that lays claim to being the tree made into Christ's cross.

But, long before the Christians adopted the oak, Celtic Druids used the oak in many of their rituals. Indeed the Druid name may have been derived from the Welsh word for "oak", derw. The oak was also a sacred tree to the Romans, Greeks, Norse, and Teutonic peoples.

Taken from Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography written and photographed by Douglas Keister, published by Gibbs Smith, Salt Lake City, 2004.