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Quercus ilex
Holm oak

Holly oak (Quercus ilex) is a small to medium-sized, long-living evergreen tree characterized by its leathery and woolly leaves. It is native to the central-western part of the Mediterranean, where it is often found in mixed vegetation, together with other broadleaved evergreen plants.

The tree’s wood is hard and only used for smaller woodcrafts, such as handles and carpentry tools. It is usually managed as coppice forest, mainly for the production of firewood. Traditionally, the tree was planted in pastures and provided acorns to grazing livestock. The acorns are still used as fodder for pigs and are a food source for several other wild animals.

Holly oak is shade-tolerant and able to germinate and re-sprout in the understorey of woodlands. It grows well on many different soils and is able to handle various climates in the Mediterranean, from warm to very cold conditions in high altitudes.

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