Evergreen, from Portugal, Spain and western Mediterranean.
The main feature of cork oaks is their thick, soft bark, – the primary source for corks for wine bottles.
The cork can be carefully peeled from the trees, starting when the trees are about 25 year old. About 12 harvests are possible in the life of each tree.
The insulating bark is an adaptation to forest fire.
The tree re-sprouts quickly from protected branches.
Cork oaks can be tall trees, up to 20m, but are usually shorter in their natural habitat. They are not common in New Zealand. The trees are national treasures in Portugal, where it is illegal to fell them.
The acorns are an important food source for people, wild animals and domestic pigs, but are toxic to horses.