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An evergreen small tree up to 30 ft high, usually a shrub in this country, of spreading habit; young shoots glabrous. Leaves glabrous, narrowly oval or oblanceolate, tapered at both ends, blunt-pointed, entire, of hard, leathery texture, 31⁄2 to 6 in. long, 1 to 21⁄4 in. wide, glossy yellowish green above, dullish green beneath but with a slight silvery sheen due to the presence of minute scales; veins nine to eleven on each side the midrib; stalk 1⁄3 to 1 in. long. Acorns produced in triplets on stout woody spikes 2 to 3 in. long, but only an occasional acorn attains to full size, for which it requires two seasons; it is then about 1 in. long, 1⁄3 in. wide, pointed at the apex, bullet-shaped. The cup is about 1⁄4 in. deep.
Native of Japan; introduced in the first half of the 19th century but still uncommon in gardens. It is a distinct and handsome evergreen bearing a slight resemblance to Quercus acuta, which being a true oak has quite different flowers, and leaves of a deeper green, not so tapered at the base and distinctly woolly when young. The confusion between the two species may in part be due to the fact that L. edulis has been distributed under the erroneous name Quercus laevigata, which is properly a synonym of Q. acuta. It is also often wrongly called Q. glabra (see below).
L. edulis is quite hardy south of London in a sheltered position and occasionally produces fertile acorns.