What Is Cork?
Everyone is familiar with the corks in wine bottles and handy notice cork boards, but does anyone know - what is cork?
- Q: So, what is it?
- A: Cork is the name for the layer of cells found in most trees; it is resistant to water and forms a protective layer between the outer, tougher bark and the more sensitive interior bark. It is resistant to fire, rot, termites, gas and liquid while remaining soft, lightweight and buoyant. This gives cork a highly unusual combination of properties.
- Q: Where does cork come from?
- A: Most cork that we encounter comes from a particular tree called the cork oak (botanical name: Quercus suber). While nearly all trees possess a layer of cork bark on the outside, the cork oak tree is the workhorse that provides cork for all sorts of uses. These trees are found in the Mediterranean Sea area where the weather is conducive to their growth, providing a lot of sun and a fairly dry, high humidity climate. Cork-producing countries include: France, Tunisia, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Algeria and Portugal.
- Q: What makes this the best type of cork?
- A: The cork oak tree’s cork bark becomes unusually thick and useful from the extreme conditions found in the Mediterranean climates. The forests where cork oak trees grow have many droughts, small fires in the brush and fluctuations in temperature, creating an environment constructive to each tree producing a high-quality cork layer. This cork is then formulated to create the magnetic cork boards and large cork board sheets used in everyday life.