(quercus ilex L.)


Evergreen oak that can reach 20/25 m in height, a species of remarkable longevity can exceed 1,000 years. Slightly elevated and mighty stem can exceed 1 m in diameter. Dense, rounded foliage is dark green in color, while the bark in youth is smooth and gray in color while with years it flakes into very small brown plates.

The twigs in the year are gray and pubescent, later becoming glossy greenish in color, but being a "polycyclic" growth oak, that is, one that issues new shoots several times in a season, there are always new gray-green tomentose shoots that stand out against the dark-green background of the foliage. The 3- to 7-cm-long leaves last on the plant from 2 to 3 years are shiny and dark green on the upper page, whitish and characterized by dense hairs on the underside, thick at a young age they have a somewhat toothed margin while in the adult ones they are mostly entire.

The fruits are acorns borne singly or in groups of 2/5 on a stalk about 10/15 mm long. In exceptional cases even 40mm. They are dark brown when ripe with more obvious streaks. Acorns are covered 1/3 or about half their length by a dome provided with flat, appressed scales; they ripen in the same year as flowering in autumn.

It is a thermophilic plant that grows even in droughty, windy and very hot areas; it adapts to different types of soil as long as they are free of waterlogging. It forms forests along the coasts and on islands with a Mediterranean climate, but it is also found in certain exposures up to around 1,100 meters above sea level in central Italy, in soils with a lot of skeleton where it takes on a shrubby form. excellent plant for the cultivation of black truffles Aestivum/Melanosporum and Tuber Borchii. (Bianchetto)

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