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Published In: Iter Hispanicum 15. 1838. (Iter Hispan.) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/26/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project data     (Last Modified On 2/8/2012)

3. Quercus calliprinos Webb, Iter Hisp. 15 (1838); A. DC. in DC., Prodr. 16, 2: 54 (1864); A. Camus, Monogr. Querc. 1: 451 (1938); Zohary, Bull. Res. Counc. Israel D, 9: 161 (1961). Quercus coccifera L. var. calliprinos (Webb) Boiss., Fl. Orient. 4: 1169 (1879). Type: [Lebanon] in montibus Djebel Dersa Tetuanensium, Labillardiere (FI, W). [Plate 32]

Common name:

Kermes Oak; אלון מצוי


Maquis and forests on Terra Rossa, Rendzina, Protogrumosols on basalt, from sea level to 1,300 m. The principal component of the E Mediterranean maquis, also in steppe-forests areas in fissures and rock-crevices of limestonestone, sandstone and basalt,. Coastal Galilee, Acco Plain, Carmel Coast, Sharon Plain, Philistean Plain, Upper and Lower Galilee, Mt. Carmel, Esdraelon Plain, Mt. Gilboa, Samaria, Shefela, Judean Mts., Hula Plain, Upper Jordan Valley, Golan, Gilead, Ammon, Moav, Edom

Area distribution:

E. Mediterranean.


            Quercus calliprinos can be distinguished from its W. Mediterranean relative Quercus coccifera L.(of which it may be considered a vicariant) by a series of characters (see Zohary, Bull. Res. Counc. Israel D, 9 : 182, 1961). It is in itself very polymorphic. The local populations have been divided into the seven varieties.

     Nothing is known about the genetic nature of the seven varieties, and certain intermediate forms are sometimes encountered. Thus, these varieties of such a highly polymorphic species may be regarded as forms (morphs).

     This is the most common sclerophyllous tree or shrub of the local maquis, where it occurs as a leading and dominant component in various plant communities. Well adapted to the Mediterranean conditions. It is generally shrubby as a result of heavy browsing, fire and continuous cutting for charcoal production. Lofty and aged trees are found only in cemeteries and other protected sites. This favours the opinion that the oak maquis is at least partly derived from oak forest degraded by man. Wood remains of Q. calliprinos were found at over 70 sites in Palestine (excluding the Negev). Remains of probably edible acorns (roasted) were found at Lower Palaeplithic Gesher Benot Ya’aqov () [Liphschitz 2007; Goren-Inbar et al. 2002].

Ornamental and afforestation tree. Known to be a ceremonial tree already from Biblical

times. Timber hard, used for carpentry and charcoal making. Roasted seeds served as coffee substitute.


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     Evergreen tree or shrub, 2.5-4 m., not rarely up to 15 m.; crown semiglobular; trunk in very aged trees up to 1 m. in diam. or even more; bark grey. Branches divaricate, ascending, very dense; young twigs yellowish, stellate-pubescent; indumentum persistent sometimes until the second year; older twigs brownish-grey. Buds congested at ends of twigs, ovoid, reddish grey-brown, tomentose. Leaves 2-4 (-6) x (0.8-)1-1.5(-2) cm., persistent for 2 years or more, leathery, rigid, oblong to elliptical, rounded or subcordate at base, obtuse or somewhat acute at apex, serrate-dentate, often spiny-toothed, rarely nearly entire or wavy-margined, glabrous or sparingly and minutely pubescent beneath; petiole short, tomentose. Staminate catkins numerous, flowers rather dense; perianth with 4-5 hairy, obtuse or rounded lobes; stamens 4-5, opposite the lobes, with acute and mucronate anthers. Pistillate catkins 1-2 cm., solitary or in pairs in leaf axils of current year’s branches, erect, tomentose, 1-3-flowered; flowers mostly with glabrous scales; styles 3, linear, elongated; stigmas 5-6, recurved. Acorns short-peduncled, maturing in the second year, very variable in shape and size but rather uniform on each individual tree; cupule 0.7-1.5 cm. in diam., hemispherical, cyathiform or almost campanulate, enclosing one to two thirds of the gland, finely velvety within; scales variously shaped, short or long, appressed, erect, recurved or ascending, hairy, mostly prickly, the lowermost ovate, the intermediate oblong-lanceolate; gland 1-3 cm., ovoid, ellipsoidal or oblong, rarely cylindrical, apex acute or rounded to mucronate. Fl. March-April. Fr. (ripe) December.





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