Cork Oak

Cork Oak

name = Cork Oak
status = secure

image_width = 240px
image_caption = Cork Oak in Christchurch botanic gardens
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Fagales
familia = Fagaceae
genus = "Quercus"
sectio = "Cerris"
species = "Q. suber"
binomial = "Quercus suber"
binomial_authority = L.

The Cork Oak ("Quercus suber") is a medium-sized, evergreen oak tree in the section "Quercus" sect. "Cerris". It is native to southwest Europe and northwest Africa.

It grows to up to 20 m, although it is typically more stunted in its native environment. The leaves are 4 to 7 cm long, weakly lobed or coarsely toothed, dark green above, paler beneath, with the leaf margins often downcurved. The acorns are 2 to 3 cm long, in a deep cup fringed with elongated scales.

The tree forms a thick, rugged and corky bark. Over time this bark can develop considerable thickness and this can be harvested every 10 to 12 years as cork. The harvesting of cork does not harm the tree and a new layer of cork regrows, making it a renewable resource. The tree is widely cultivated in Spain, Portugal, Algeria, Morocco, France, Italy and Tunisia. Cork Oak forests cover approximately 25,000 square kilometres in those countries. Portugal accounts for 50% of the world cork harvest. Cork Oaks cannot legally be cut down in Portugal, except for forest management felling of old, unproductive trees.

Cork Oaks live about 150 to 250 years. Virgin cork (or 'male' cork) is the first cork cut from generally 25 year old trees. Another 10 to 12 years is required for the second harvest, and a tree can be harvested twelve times in its lifetime. Cork harvesting is done entirely without machinery.

The European cork industry produces 340,000 tonnes of cork a year, with a value of 1.5 billion and employing 30,000 people. Wine corks represent 15% of cork usage by weight but 66% of revenues.

Cork Oaks are sometimes planted as individual trees, providing a minor income to their owners. The tree is also sometimes cultivated for ornament. Hybrids with Turkey Oak ("Quercus cerris") are regular, both in the wild in southwest Europe and in cultivation; the hybrid is known as Lucombe Oak "Quercus × hispanica".

Some cork is also produced in eastern Asia from the related Chinese Cork Oak ("Quercus variabilis").


External links

* [ APCOR] – Associação Portuguesa de Cortiça (Portuguese Cork Association)
* [ Photograph of cork oaks in Portugal]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cork oak — Oak Oak ([=o]k), n. [OE. oke, ok, ak, AS. [=a]c; akin to D. eik, G. eiche, OHG. eih, Icel. eik, Sw. ek, Dan. eeg.] [1913 Webster] 1. (Bot.) Any tree or shrub of the genus {Quercus}. The oaks have alternate leaves, often variously lobed, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cork oak — cork′ oak n. pln See under cork 1), b) • Etymology: 1870–75 …   From formal English to slang

  • cork oak — noun medium sized evergreen oak of southern Europe and northern Africa having thick corky bark that is periodically stripped to yield commercial cork • Syn: ↑Quercus suber • Hypernyms: ↑oak, ↑oak tree * * * noun : an oak (Quercus suber) of… …   Useful english dictionary

  • cork oak — kamštinis ąžuolas statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Bukinių šeimos kamštinis augalas (Quercus suber), paplitęs Viduržemio pajūrio srityje. atitikmenys: lot. Quercus suber angl. cork oak vok. Kork Eiche; Korkeiche rus. дуб пробковый pranc.… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • cork oak — cork (def. 2). [1870 75] * * * …   Universalium

  • cork oak — noun Date: 1873 an oak (Quercus suber) of southern Europe and northern Africa that is the source of the cork of commerce …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cork oak — noun an evergreen Mediterranean oak, the outer layer of the bark of which is the source of cork. [Quercus suber.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • cork oak — /ˈkɔk oʊk/ (say kawk ohk) noun a species of oak tree, Quercus suber, found in Mediterranean countries, the bark of which yields cork …   Australian English dictionary

  • cork oak — type of tree whose bark is used in preparing objects made of cork (common in Mediterranean countries) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • cork oak — noun A type of evergreen oak tree, Quercus suber, native to southeast Europe and northwest Africa …   Wiktionary

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