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Reproduction of the Kermes Oak

Reproduction of the Kermes Oak

The Kermes oak (Quercus coccifera L., 1753) is a fairly common plant in the Mediterranean basin, which grows as a shrub and belongs to the Fagaceae family.

Suitable breeding habitat –
The Kermes oak is a plant whose distribution area extends along the coasts of the entire Mediterranean basin.
This plant grows in the warm Lauretum, or thermo-Mediterranean belt from sea level up to 300-500 meters above sea level, in the Mediterranean maquis of the Oleo-Ceratonion type and in the garrigue linked to the degradation of the evergreen Mediterranean forest.
Its typical habitat is that of dry places on calcareous and siliceous rocks.

Propagation –
Quercus coccifera is a moderately cold hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°C when in a state of dormancy. It grows best in areas with hot summers, grows slower in cooler regions of the temperate zone, where it often fails to produce seed.
It is a very rustic and slow-moving species that adapts to stony substrates, sunny areas with a hot-arid climate, and extreme drought conditions. It prefers bright environments and limestone soils. For its optimal cultivation it requires a fertile and deep substrate.
Young plants tolerate reasonable levels of lateral shade; furthermore it tolerates moderate exposures.
Propagation is by seed. This quickly loses vitality if allowed to dry out. It can be kept moist and cool over the winter but is best sown as soon as mature in an open seedbed, although this should be protected from mice, squirrels, etc.
Small quantities of seed can be sown in deep pots in a cold greenhouse. The plants produce a deep taproot and must be transplanted into the open field as soon as possible, in fact seeds sown in situ produce the best trees.
For this reason trees should not be left in a nursery for more than 2 growing seasons without being moved; otherwise the transplant is not optimal.

Ecology –
Quercus coccifera is a plant that flowers in April-May. Fruiting occurs the year after flowering, in the autumn period.
It is a plant with high suckering capacity, resistant to cutting and fires.
In Italy it is a plant present in our country in Puglia, Basilicata, Sardinia and above all Sicily where it is easier to meet it, between 0 and 300 meters above sea level. In other regions its presence is hypothesized but not ascertained (for example in Liguria).
Due to its beauty, especially as a shrub, the Thorny Oak is ideal in those medium-small sized sites, where the climate allows it, as a companion to other shrubs with similar climatic and edaphic needs. Beautiful as a single specimen or in groups. Ideal in the Mediterranean garden, perhaps alongside brooms, cistus (Cistus villoso, Cistus female), rosemary in variety.

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