Cork Oak

Quercus suber
Family: Fagaceae
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• Angiosperm, Dicot, evergreen


• Can grow over 65 feet in height, although in their native environment they often appear somewhat stunted.
• The leaves are 2-3 inches long.
• Seasonal growth is between 24-36 inches.

Identifying Features:

• Jagged and corky bark that can grow to considerable thickness.
• Bark is light gray in color, with deep furrows of reddish brown.
• Leaves are weakly lobed and coarsely toothed while being dark green above and gray below.
• Leaf margins often curve downward.
• The tree is an oval, rounded or umbrella like in shape with branches and leaves spreading out an extensive area.
• Evergreen.


• Native to Southwest Europe and Northwest Africa.
• Hardy and can survive in Sunset Zones 5-16 and 18-23 or USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10.


• The flowers are monoecious and appearing in spring.
• The males are slender, yellow-green 2-3 inch catkins; females are very small and in clusters of 2 to 4 in leaf axils.
• The fruit are brown acorns of .5-1.5 inches in length, appearing in fall to winter.
• Acorn shape is narrow and oblong, with a loose scaly cap covering approximately 1/2 of the fruit.
• The fruit comes in prolific numbers.

Water/Sun Requirements:

• The Cork Oak can survive in moist to dry soil, although it requires good drainage.
• Full sun to partial shade is suitable.

Special Adaptations:

• Drought tolerant.
• Fairly tolerant of different soil types and soil pH.
• Can survive in clay, loam or sand that is highly acidic to slightly alkaline in pH.
• Resistant to Verticillium although susceptible to Phytophthora and Root Rot.
• Resistant to fire.

Other Info:

• The largest commercial growth of Cork Oak is in Portugal.
• The cork used in domestic products, such as wine bottle stoppers and bulletin boards, are produced from the bark of this tree.
• The Cork Oak is most widely cultivated in Spain, Portugal, Algeria, Morocco, France, Italy, and Tunisia.
• The European cork industry produces around 340,000 tons of cork a year, with a value of €1.5 billion.
• Longevity of the tree is greater than 150 years.

Reference Sources/Links:

Created by: Edward T. 2007