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Tree to 15 m dbh. Branchlets pale grey, silvery or tawny brown, glabrous or pubescent, sparsely lenticellate. Leaves congested at branch apices; papery to leathery, (5–)10–15 × 2–4.5 cm, lanceolate to obovate or elliptic, upper surface glabrous, lower surface glabrous or pubescent, with minute scale-like glands, 9–26 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins dentate to entire, undulate, apex acuminate to acute; petiole 0.5–4.5 cm long. Monoecious. Male inflorescences often with female flowers at the base. Female inflorescences <10 cm long. Cupules in clusters of three or rarely solitary; cupule cup-shaped to subglobose, 2.2–4.5 × 2.5–5.5 cm, covered with triangular to rhomboid, imbricate bracts, more or less united into concentric rings. Nut subglobose to turbinate, apex rounded, flat or concave. Flowering almost all year, mainly May to July, fruit maturing on one-year-old branchlets (China). Huang et al. 1999. Distribution CHINA: southern Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, southern Guizhou, Hainan, southern Hunan, Yunnan; TAIWAN; VIETNAM. Habitat Broadleaved, evergreen forest below 1000 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 9. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Huang et al. 1999. Taxonomic note Six varieties of L. corneus are recognised, distinguished by minor differences in leaf shape, pubescence, etc.
The confusion over the identity of trees in the United States grown for decades as L. corneus is described in the account for L. uvariifolius, to which species they should be referred. True L. corneus is currently in cultivation, but in the form of seedlings from a collection made by Allen Coombes in Taiwan in 2003.