cork oak

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cork oak,

name for an evergreen species of the oak genus (Quercus) of the family Fagaceae (beechbeech,
common name for the Fagaceae, a family of trees and shrubs mainly of temperate and subtropical regions in the Northern Hemisphere. The principal genera—Castanea (chestnut and chinquapin), Fagus (beech), and Quercus
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 family). The cork oak (Q. suber) is native to the Mediterranean region, where most of the world's commercial supply of corkcork,
protective, waterproof outer covering of the stems and roots of woody plants. Cork is a specialized secondary tissue produced by the cork cambium of the plant (see meristem, bark).
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 is obtained. It is cultivated elsewhere as an ornamental and has been introduced into warmer regions of the United States because of its economic value. The bark of the tree is stripped off (about every 10 years) and then processed for shipment as commercial cork. There is a cork layer in all trees but it is not as extensive or valuable as in the cork oak. Cork oak is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Fagales, family Fagaceae.

Cork Oak

 

two (or three) species of evergreen trees of the genus Quercus, whose trunk and thick branches become covered with corky bark by the third to fifth year of life. The cork may be removed when the tree is 15 to 20 years old. It is removed once every ten years until the tree is 200 years old. The leaves have dentate or entire margins and are gray and hairy below. The trunk reaches a height of 20 m and a diameter of about 1 m.

Quercus suber grows in the coastal region of the western Mediterranean at elevations to 400–500 m. A closely related species is Q. occidentalis, which is native to the coastal region of Portugal and is distinguished by its thin and pubescent leaves. Both species of cork oak are cultivated. In the USSR they are raised in the southern Crimea and in the Caucasus. A third species, Q. crenata (formerly Q. pseudosuber), grows in southern Europe. Apparently a hybrid of Q. cerris and Q. suber, it has a poorly developed cork layer. The species is grown as an ornamental.

REFERENCES

Pravdin, L. F. Probkovyi dub i ego razvedenie v SSSR. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Derev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.
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Instead of conventional signposts you spot turnings by landmarks such as a ruined windmill, the lightningstruck stump of a cork tree or the street lined with cannon balls.
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Each time a cork tree is harvested, cork bark regenerates itself.
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The 26-year-old went home straight afterwards to Montijo, where white-washed walls flake under the sun's heat and the cork tree dotted ground is dry and parched.