Quercus faginea, the Portuguese oak, is a species of
oak native to the western
Mediterranean region in the
Iberian Peninsula and the
Balearic Islands. Similar trees in the
Atlas Mountains of northwest
Africa are usually included in this species, or sometimes treated as a distinct species Quercus tlemcenensis. It occurs in mountains between 0–1900 metres altitude, and flourishes in a variety of soils and climates.
Quercus faginea is a medium-sized
tree growing to 20 meters tall, with a trunk up to 80 cm in diameter, with grey-brown
bark. The tree can live as long as 600 years. The
leaves are 4–10 cm long and 1.2–4 cm broad (rarely to 15 cm long and 5 cm broad), glossy dark green to grey-green above, and variably
felted grey-white below; the margins have 5-12 pairs of irregular teeth. Leaf fall is typically in mid to late winter. The
catkins, produced between March and April, almost always before
Holm oak, which grows in similar areas. The
acorns are oblong-ovoid, 2–2.5 cm long, maturing in 6 months to disperse in September or October.
The species commonly develops
galls due to
gall wasp activity; the galls are brown, 1–2 cm diameter, and have a spongy, cork-like interior.
There are two
- Quercus faginea subsp. faginea. Iberian Peninsula.
- Quercus faginea subsp. broteroi (Cout.) A.Camus (syn. Quercus tlemcenensis). Northwest Africa and South-West of the Iberian Peninsula.
Portuguese oak also
hybridises readily with other related oaks such as
Algerian oak (Quercus canariensis) and
downy oak (Quercus pubescens), which can make identification difficult.
The scientific name faginea refers to the superficial resemblance of the leaves to those of the