What is Virgin Cork Bark?

Virgin cork bark is bark from the cork tree, Quercus suber, or cork oak. It is native to southern Portugal and Spain and northern Africa. The cork is harvested or "stripped" off the tree without damage to the tree. In fact it is actually good for the tree.
The first harvesting of the cork is done when the tree is 20-25 years old. Only this first harvest is called virgin cork bark. The tree can then be harvested every nine years for 200 years thereafter. Only virgin cork bark is used in the horticulture industry. It is used mostly for mounting orchids. The coarseness of the bark makes it easy for the orchid roots to grip tightly.
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