The three most famous trees in Portugal - SAGIPER


The three most famous trees in Portugal

The three most famous trees in Portugal

There are several tree species that any Portuguese person knows and can easily identify. Some we got used to seeing as we toured the country; others are the ones we dream of growing in our gardens or that make our minds wander…

I highlight three, which are certainly the most famous in Portugal:

The Cork Oak, Quercus suber – This tree was even consecrated the national tree in 2011, at the National Assembly, highlighting its economic, social and environmental value. We are well acquainted with the cork oak because it is the cork tree, with which the famous Portuguese corks are produced, but also because it occurs all over the country. Its rough and thick skin is easily identifiable.

In fact, it is an oak with a persistent leaf, which has developed some adaptations to survive the heat and water scarcity that’s characteristic to the Mediterranean climate, such as small leaves and deep roots.

This tree can live up to 250-300 years. In the cork oak forests, an agroforestry ecosystem that creates beautiful landscapes with trees as far as the eye can see, cork oaks are only stripped when the tree is about 20-25 years old and the process is repeated every 9 years.

The cutting or pruning of cork oaks is legally subject to authorisation from the ICNF (Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests).

The Olive Tree, Olea europaea – One of the most requested trees in gardens nowadays, it is the main representative of the Mediterranean climate, but it can also be found in agricultural landscapes throughout the country.

The Olive Tree has always been a widely cultivated species, especially in the Mediterranean, as it is an excellent food source, as its fruit are olives from which oil is extracted, which is something that does not lack at the Portuguese table.

It isn’t a very tall tree, which is why it is also used in some apartment gardens and restaurants, for instance. The leaves have a very characteristic, dry, silvery green tone, which is the most aesthetically appreciated aspect. The olive tree has a slow growth, so a centenary olive tree can be quite expensive.

The Stone Pine, Pinus pinea – The most common pine in the country is the maritime pine, planted mainly for commercial purposes, such as wood production.

From a Stone Pine we can extract pine nuts. This tree actually marks the landscapes where it occurs. Stone pine can be found all over the country, but it is more common in the South.

It is quite adaptable to different weather conditions, but prefers sandy soils and good exposure to sunlight.

Its crown has a rounded shape that resembles a parasol, which earned it the name of umbrella pine in English. And it is precisely for the architectural form of its canopy that it is highly appreciated aesthetically, marking the Portuguese landscape in the South.

What is your favorite tree?

Don’t forget, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the second best is now.

Amália Souto de Miranda

Landscape Architect

Loci Studio