Plant DetailShow Menu

Cork Oak Quercus suber

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
KWER-kus SOO-ber
Description

Cork Oak is a large broadleaf evergreen shade tree native to western Africa and southwestern Europe.  It is low maintenance and drought tolerant.   The spongy bark of mature trees is used to make corks, cork flooring and other items. The cork is harvested when the tree reaches 25-30 years of age and then every 9-11 years for up to 12 times within its lifetime. 

In the US it can be grown in the warmer winter areas and makes an attractive shade tree. Plant in full sun to light shade in dry to medium well-drained soils.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#large shade tree#drought tolerant#interesting bark#wildlife plant#moths#winter interest#nighttime garden#leathery leaves#larval host plant#evergreen tree#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#pollinator garden#problem for horses#banded hairstreak butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#imperial moth#juvenal’s duskywing butterfly#edward’s hairstreak butterfly#white-m hairstreak butterfly#horace’s duskywing butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#large shade tree#drought tolerant#interesting bark#wildlife plant#moths#winter interest#nighttime garden#leathery leaves#larval host plant#evergreen tree#butterfly friendly#moth larvae#pollinator garden#problem for horses#banded hairstreak butterfly#gray hairstreak butterfly#imperial moth#juvenal’s duskywing butterfly#edward’s hairstreak butterfly#white-m hairstreak butterfly#horace’s duskywing butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Quercus
    Species:
    suber
    Family:
    Fagaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Bark is used to make corks and is harvested from at least 30 year old trees every 9-11 years.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, Africa
    Wildlife Value:
    In its native habitat, the cork oak supports a wide range of wildlife including many endangered species of birds and felines and the acorns are a high-value food source for mammals. Oak trees support a wide variety of Lepidopteran. You may see Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis) larvae which have one brood per season and appear from April-October in the south. Adult Imperial Moths do not feed. Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus), which have one flight from June-August everywhere but Florida where they emerge April-May. Edward's Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii), has one flight from May-July in the south and June-July in the north. Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), has three to four flights in the south from February-November and two flights in the north from May-September. White-M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album) has three broods in the north from February-October. Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) has three broods in Texas and the deep south from January-November, and two broods in the north from April-September. Juvenal’s Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis) has one brood from April-June, appearing as early as January in Florida.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Wildlife Nesting
    Edibility:
    Acorns are edible once the tannins have been boiled or leached out.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 70 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 40 ft. 0 in. - 70 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Narrow oval acorns 1 1/4" long with shaggy cups.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    2"-3" long male catkins and 1 1/4" long female stalks.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leathery wavy toothed simple oval leaves are dark green above and gray and hairy below. Leaf margins often downcurved.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Furrowed
    Spongy
    Bark Description:
    Rough deeply fissured reddish brown and can get up to 12" thick.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Lawn
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Problems:
    Problem for Horses