An exotic tree that is well known for its ability to withstand drought is the Quercus suber.
Hailing from the Mediterranean, the Cork oak is a unique and valuable tree species. Evergreen, unlike most oaks, this is one of the few trees able to regenerate their bark. The deeply fissured, corky bark can be up to 15cm thick in places. The thick bark is harvested to produce wine bottle corks and is also known for its insulative properties in home interiors. By cutting of the older, dead bark, the tree is able to regenerate new cork tissue from the underlying living bark. This long lived tree (up to 150 years) can be harvested from the age of 25 and then every 9 years to provide an on-going supply of cork.
Growing up to 20 m tall, Quercus suber has dark green leaves which are weakly lobed with a slight point at the tip. The tree typically has a short trunk that divides into many large limbs that form an irregularly, rounded crown. The trunk can grow very large and can reach a diameter of 1.5 m in ideal conditions. Each tree has creamy white male and female flowers that are on display during spring. Acorns appear solitary of paired and are deeply cupped by the upper scales, and are a favourite of squirrels.
Quercus suber is a hardy tree that will grow in most soils and does not require a lot of maintenance. Drought hardy, the tree has tremendous ornamental appeal with its bright foliage and uniquely textured bark in a larger garden.