Oaks of the World

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  Quercus coccifera

L. 1753

Synonyms angustifolia (Laguna) Gonzalez-Albo 1936, not Sessé & Moç. 1894
arcuata Kotschy ex A.DC 1864
aucheri auctores, not Jaub. & Spach
brachybalanos Kotschy 1864
coccifera Tchich. 1860
coccifera var. vera Candolle 1864
inops Kotschy 1853
kermesiana hort.
kryptocarpa Svent. & Marcet
Local names chêne kermès; garric; garrouille; Abraham's oak; Mamre oak; coscoja;
Range Mediterranean Region;
Growth habit 0.5 to 3-5 m; crown dense, rounded;
Leaves 1-3.5 x 0.7-2 cm; evergreen; oblong; base cordate to rounded; thickly leathery; margin cartilaginous, wavy, sharp-toothed (5-8 pairs of teeth); both surfaces green, but paler and sometimes slightly bloomy beneath; 5-8 vein pairs prominent beneath, diverging from midrib at more than 40°; petiole hairless, 2-6 mm long;
Flowers male flowers in early summer, on 3-5 cm glabrous catkins;
Fruits acorn ovoid, 2 cm long, 1.5 wide; enclosed 1/2 to 2/3 by cup; cup with spiny, stiff, spreading or recurved scales; maturing in 2 years;

Bark, twigs and

bark dull grey, often scaly on old trees; branchlet at first yellowish brown, hairy, becoming grey brown; bud ovoid, pointed, chesnut brown, 3 mm long;
Hardiness zone, habitat -- a little tender (zone 7-8), but withstands -15°C;
-- very slow growing, but long-lived; thrives in any rocky soil, but prefers calcareous ones;
-- does not appreciate seaside;

-- A. Camus : n° 107;
-- Sub-genus Cerris, Section Ilex;
-- In Flora Europaea, and for many other Authors, Q.coccifera and Q.calliprinos are synonyms;


Subspecies and

-- Some varieties, or formas, have been described, which are in fact probably geographical variations :
_ fo. angustifolia: leaves elliptic, 1.5 cm long, narrow, spiny, wavy, shiny light green;
_ fo. coccifera: leaves more than 3 cm long, less spiny, dark green;
_ fo. subintegrifolia: leaves entire resembling those of the beech.

-- Q.coccifera subsp rivasmartinezii J.H.Copelo & J.C.Costa 2001
this taxon has a new taxonomical rank, after F.M. Vázquez & al. 2018 : it is nowadays a synonym of Q. pseudococcifera subsp. rivasmartinezii.

-- Q.calliprinos Webb 1838      (A. Camus : n° 108)
= Q. coccifera var. calliprinos Boiss. 1879
= Q. rigida Will. 1805 (A.Camus n° 109)
= Q. coccifera subsp calliprinos (Webb) Holmboe 1914
= Palestine oak
closely related to Q.coccifera, often confused with it; actually takes the place of Q.coccifera in E. Europe and Asia Minor;differs from Q.coccifera in having a bigger height (to 20 m, as the Mamra's Oak, or "Abraham Sacred Oak"), leaves wihtout cartilaginous margin, cupule scales that are not sharp.
    This species is very variable concerning cupule and scales, acorns, and also concerning leaves that may feature a stellate pubescence beneath (= var. puberula Zohary 1961, in Palestine and Jordania)

-- Hybrid with Q. suber : Q. x coscojosuberiformis Baonza