Included here is most of the Iberian Peninsula. The temperate broadleaf forests are dominated by species of oak.

Iberian Quercus iIex/rotundifolia Forest

Holm oak Quercus ilex forest probably covered about two-thirds of the Iberian Peninsula at one time, extending over much of the lowlands and hills, but much has now been reduced to a maquis-like thicket. However, good examples still exist, for example, in the Catalan Hills. In Portugal and southern Spain, in areas of lower rainfall, the closely related, but endemic Quercus rotundifolia takes the place of holm oak. Characteristic shrubs of undisturbed holm oak forest are Arbutus unedo, Asparagus acutifolius, Bupleurum fruticosum, Cistus salvifolius, Coronilla juncea, Daphne gnidium, Jasminum fruticans, Juniperus oxycedrus, Juniperus phoenicea, Lonicera implexa, Pistacia terebinthus, Quercus coccifera, Teucrium fruticans and Viburnum tinus. Some of the endemic species found in these forests include Centaurea citricolor (Asteraceae), Paeonia broteroi (Paeoniaceae) and Thapsia maxima (Apiaceae). These have been recorded in the mixed oak forests of Sierra Morena, where holm oak occurs with Quercus suber cork oak and the endemic Lusitianian oak Quercus faginea (Fagaceae).

Iberian Quercus suber Forest

Cork oak Quercus suber forests are mainly found in the western Mediterranean and have their main concentration in Portugal and western Spain. They require a relatively moist climate and tend to replace holm oak forest on poor, more acidic, stony soils, where the slow growth of these trees gives the best quality cork. In plantations this is harvested every 8-12 years by removing the outer layer of bark. In their natural state the Spanish cork oak woodlands of Andalusia, for example, have a rich shrub layer composed of Adenocarpus telonensis, Calicotoma spinosa, Cistus ladanifar, Daphne gnidium, Erica scoparia, Halimium halimifolium, Lavendula stoechas, Myrtus communis, Pistacia lentiscus, Quercus coccifera, Stauracanthus boivinii and Thymelaea lanuginosa. Other shrubs include the dwarf fan palm Chamaeops humilis and the endemic Chamaespartium tridentatum (Fabaceae). Typical field layer species are Lithodora diffusa and Teucrium fruticans


Gómez-Campo, G., Bermúdez-Castro, L., Cagiga, M. J. & Sánchez-Yélamo, M. D. 1984. Endemism in the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands. Webbia, 38: 709-714.

Polunin, O & Smythies, B. E. 1973. Flowers of South-West Europe - a field guide. Oxford University Press.

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Smythes, B. E. 1984. Flora of Spain and the Balearic Islands - Checklist of vascular plants. Englera 3(1). Veroffentlichungen aus dem Botanischen Garten und Botanischen Museum. Berlin - Dahlem.