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The cork oak Good to know

Published 05 / 11 / 2022

The cork oak is a tree steeped in history since it can live up to 300 years. The cork oak forests are mainly located on the western rim of the Mediterranean. It is a unique tree of its kind because its bark, the cork, regenerates after extraction. During the life cycle of the cork oak tree, a maximum of five to seven liftings of the bark take place during the active growth phase of the tree (from the end of spring until the end of August) so as not to injure the tree. . Two stages are distinguished throughout the harvest:

  1. Stripping, which corresponds to the harvesting of male cork, which is very hard and devoid of elasticity. It is used for flooring and insulation.
  2. From the third debarking takes place the lifting thanks to which we obtain the female cork. Its properties are now suitable for the production of quality corks.

Cork was first used by the Egyptians and Persians for fishing floats, then by the ancient Greeks and Romans who also made sandals and used it to seal amphorae jars. It was in the late 1700s that cork experienced its golden age with the production of wine corks. Thanks to its many qualities – thermal and acoustic insulation, waterproof, light, rot-proof – cork is now attracting many other sectors such as aeronautics, architecture or design.

Source: NFB

  • Photographer: 4 Amorim Cork, 5 Studio Corkinho