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Palafrugell's Cork Museum

Central courtyard. The cork grove

<p>Cork oak forest. Palafrugell Cork Museum Image Bank.</p>

Cork oak forest. Palafrugell Cork Museum Image Bank.

Connecting the two main rooms in the museum building, the cork grove is an outdoor area where visitors can see cork trees and the rich undergrowth that accompanies them. The growth of this species, Quercus suber, is limited virtually to the western basin of the Mediterranean in areas with an average rainfall that fluctuates between 500 and 900 mm, where the temperatures are not excessively low and where the soil is acidic with no lime content. Cork is the bark of the cork oak tree. When it is removed, the cambium is exposed. The external parts gradually dehydrate and dry out, while the inner part begins a new process of regeneration that produces new layers of cork bark. These features give this material properties that were already known back in the ancient world. In the 5th century BC, the Greeks used cork as stoppers for wine amphorae, as beacons in ports and to make fishing rigging.

Cork groves are forests that are not very dense, with an undergrowth of shrubs that tolerate sunlight. This feature, along with the morphology of the tree, mean that cork groves are one of the Mediterranean ecosystems with the largest bird population.

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