Quercus coccifera

Kermes oak (Quercus coccifera ), fruits

The Kermes oak or holly oak ( Quercus coccifera, Syn. Quercus pseudococcifera Labill ) is a common in the Mediterranean evergreen oak (Quercus ), which has its natural habitat in sunny, dry locations.


The Kermes oak is an evergreen shrub, and usually reaches heights of growth of about three meters. Especially in the eastern Mediterranean region it also grows tree-like and can then reach stature heights of up to 12 meters. This form is sometimes separated off as a separate species (Quercus calliprinos Webb. ). The bark is light gray and smooth.

The older leaves are stiff and leathery, 1-5 cm long, spiny toothed, under hand graufilzig, shiny dark green on top. The leaf shape is broadly ovate to oblong. The leaf base is cordate or rounded. The leaf veins stand out on the leaf surface, not at the bottom.

The small flowers are unisexual. The male flowers are grouped in hanging inflorescences. The fruit cup of up to 3 cm wide fruits are filled with protruding, short, spiky scales.


Specimen Museum - Quercus coccifera


The Kermes oak is found throughout the Mediterranean region, but is absent in central and northern Italy, as well as on Corsica.

It grows in Garigues and maquis, as well as in the understory lights forests and preferably calcareous soils. It is associated with the black pine and the Stinking juniper.


The Kermes Oak is a tanning agent. She is also the host plant of Kermesschildlaus ( Coccus ilicis Planch ), from the earlier of the red dye kermes was recovered.

The acorns are used. For example, you can roast it for a coffee substitute. The galls are used medicinally.