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Tree to 30 m. Bark smooth when young, cracking into fine fissures and plates below (not recorded from mature trees). Branchlets slender and reddish brown with small, pale lenticels; may be covered in flaky scales when very young. Leaves evergreen, dark green, 3.5–9 × 1.5–2 cm, oblong to lanceolate, shiny, upper surface glabrous, lower surface may have prominent tufts of tomentum in the vein axils, 10–12 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins sharply serrate, apex acute; petiole 0.5–1 cm long and glabrous. Infructescence < 1 cm long with one to two cupules. Cupule hemispheric, 1–1.4 × 0.6–0.8 cm; scales acute and appressed, brown and ciliate. Acorn subglobose, with one-third to half of its length enclosed in the cupule, 0.8–1 cm long, stylopodium small or absent. Fruiting in the second year (Mexico). Trelease 1924. Distribution MEXICO: Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, Veracruz. Habitat Pine-oak forest between 1200 and 2600 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration NT12, NT702.
Quercus affinis is one of the Mexican evergreen oaks that have accepted British conditions with gusto, growing vigorously in all collections and sometimes fruiting freely, although frost damage can occur to unripened wood. In southwestern France it does well but can be killed by drought if grown in a dry site (S. Haddock, pers. comm. 2006). It was introduced by Jim Priest (no. 79) from a collection made at 2500 m in the Cerro Potosí, Nuevo León in 1984, and there have been later collections by others. The finest seen in the research for this book is at Kew, from VERA 88, forming a beautiful erect pillar of 12–13 m, which looks as if it will soon equal an adjacent rather columnar Q. ilex, and has a single straight trunk (21 cm dbh, November 2005). Another large specimen is at Chevithorne Barton, c.11 m in height (2008), forming an upright tree with large branches from the base. Late summer shoots are long and slender, sometimes but not always flushed red-bronze. On the Kew specimen mentioned above the summer shoots are up to 1.5 m long. In subsequent growth they broaden and become thickly clad in leaves, giving the tree a dense, almost sombre look. It should be given room to develop into the large tree it is.