Quercus suber Fr: Chêne-liège
Several types of oak (chêne) are native to the Mediterranean region and into the nearby hills, one of which is deciduous. Travelling through the oak-forested hills during the winter, you'll see the rusty-brown color of the Pubescent oak leaves, hanging on tenaciously through wind and rain. Several types of oak, including the very common Holm oak and Cork oak, have a pointed, single-lobe leaf instead of the classic oak-leaf shape.
Our article, Truffles - Searching for the Black Diamond, has a photo of an oak-tree truffle plantation.
Another evergreen oak with a single-lobe leaf, the cork oak is a very natural evolutionary success in a region also famous for wine growing. The bark of the cork oak is truly used for corking hundreds of thousands of bottles of local wine, as well as for other more mundane uses of cork.
This bark is rugged and thick and spongy, pale gray or brown, and deeply fissured. This cork-bark gives the tree a remarkable protection against forest fires!
The bark is stripped off every 8-12 years, leaving the reddish-colored trunk exposed. The acorns of the cork oak are 2-3 cm long, much bigger than other regional oak trees.