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Woody > Quercus > Quercus suber > Quercus suber

Quercus suber

Cork Oak, Chêne-liège (French), Durier (French), Corcier (French), Sioure (French), Alcornoque (Spanish)

Origin:  Southern Europe and North Africa.
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


The cork oak is a very unique and intriguing tree. It can be very hard to grow in areas such as North America because of its native habitat. The unique bark and interesting leaves make it a very good aesthetically pleasing tree. The harsh conditions it grows in make it a hardy plant that is not very prone to pests and diseases.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
8 - 10
Canadian Hardiness Zone
RHS Hardiness Zone
H5 - H2
Temperature (°C)
(-9) - 4
Temperature (°F)
15 - 40
15 - 20 m
15 - 20 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
A slow growing tree reaching a height of between 15 - 20 m. It is a good shade tree, drought tolerant, and prefers well-drained soils. This species has been placed on the IUCN Red List as least concern.
Quercus suber is grown in large quantities for its bark; it is used principally to make wine corks. It is also used as a shade tree and street tree. The cork oak provides habitat to the endangered feline species called the Liberian Lynx.
Thrives in dry sandy soils that are well-drained and in full sun.
Medium-sized trees with large globes or rounded shaped canopy. Quercus suber has dense foliage, making it an excellent shade tree.
Quercus suber is mainly affected by scale and caterpillars. Some common disease problems include oak leaf blisters, oak leaf wilt, anthracnose and powdery mildew.
Bark/Stem Description
An uneven and unrefined cork in various shades of brown and tan colours, depending mostly on the layer of cork that is exposed.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Brown, medium-sized, oblong shaped and slightly pointed at the apex.
Leaf Description
Smaller leaves than typical oak trees, which are only 4 - 7 cm in length. They emerge as dark green colour, adaxial, progressing to a lighter shade of green abaxial. Leaves are weakly serrated and lobed, with the edges hanging slightly downwards.
Flower Description
Female flowers are in tight clusters, and the male flowers are longer shoots with green-yellow catkins. Cork oak flowers in early spring.
Fruit Description
Acorns are 2.5 - 5 cm long and oblong-shaped.
Notable Specimens
A specimen of the Quercus suber can be found in the Mediterranean Garden of The Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.
Ethnobotanical Uses (Disclaimer)
Sheets of the cork bark are harvested typically for wine corks, but also for a multitude of other uses. The harvest is quite sustainable as only a certain amount is harvested from each tree on a rotational basis. Some trees in Europe have been in continuos harvest for several hundred years.