Algerian oak, Mirbeck's oak (Eng), quejigo andaluz, roble andaluz (Spa), roure africà (Cat), ametz (Baq), carvalho-das-Canárias (Por).
DID YOU KNOW...? The name canariensis was given to this plant due to a labelling error, as the specimen used for the original description was thought to come from the Canary Islands, where this tree is not native.
A robust deciduous tree that can be up to 30 m tall, with a broad crown and dark brown bark. The leaves are very variable in size, and are 5-20 cm long and 2.5-11 cm wide. Their shape, however, is more or less constant. The leaves are oblong or elliptical and have a sinuous or shallowly lobed margin, with rounded to more pointed peaks. They are alternate, somewhat leathery and deciduous, but are also marcescent, i.e., the dry leaves of the previous year stay on until the buds of the new ones push them off the following spring. This tree flowers in April or May and the male blossom appears on long yellowish filaments (catkins) that facilitate the dispersion of pollen by the wind. When mature and fertilised, the female blooms develop into the acorns, which are borne on short, thick stalks.
Algerian oak woodlands are sometimes accompanied by other species from the same genus, including cork, kermes and Pyrenean oaks. They need mild, humid climates and well developed lime-free or siliceous soils. They occur in cool, protected spots, like valleys and the banks of streams, up to altitudes of 700-900 m on the Iberian Peninsula, although they reach 1600 m in the Moroccan Atlas mountains. However, this species never strays too far from the influence of the sea, and therefore does not penetrate much into the interior of the peninsula.
This tree is endemic to the Iberian Peninsula and northwest Africa. In Spain it ranges from western Andalucía, to the Sierra Morena range, some parts of the Montes de Toledo, and reaches Catalonia in the north. In Portugal there are significant occurrences of these oaks in the Sierra de Monchique range in the Algarve. One of best places to see this oak is in the mountain ranges to the south of Cádiz, where it is associated with holm and cork oaks and forms incredibly beautiful meadows and mixed forests.