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Small to medium-sized tree 5–10(–18) m, 0.6–0.9 m dbh. Bark pale grey to white with deep fissures separating broad ridges. Crown irregular, with stout spreading branches. Branchlets yellowish with persistent tomentum. Leaves evergreen or sub-evergreen, (3–)4–8(–9) × 1.5–2.5 cm, elliptic or oblong to oblanceolate or obovate, thick and leathery, upper surface dark or blue-green with sparse stellate pubescence, lower surface dull green to glaucous with sparse curly branched hairs, 7–11 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins entire or with coarse teeth near the apex, revolute, apex acute to obtuse; petiole 0.3–1 cm long. Infructescence 1–1.5 cm long with one to two cupules. Cupule hemispheric or cup-shaped, 1–1.5 × 0.5–1 cm; scales cream to brown, ovate and strongly tuberculate, tomentose. Acorn ovoid or oblong, with half of its length enclosed in the cupule, 0.8–1.2 cm long, stylopodium umbilicate. Flowering June, fruiting September (USA). Nixon 1997. Distribution MEXICO: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Sonora; USA: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas. Habitat Oak and pine woodland and chaparral between 1300 and 3000 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 7. Conservation status Least Concern. Illustration Nixon 1997; NT707. Taxonomic note This species is closely related to Q. grisea and forms hybrids with it and other species (Melendrez 2000).
Quercus arizonica is an extremely rare tree in Europe, with only a few young plants in cultivation in the United Kingdom. Among these are a single small specimen in Michael Heathcoat Amory’s collection at Chevithorne Barton, originating in Pima Co., Arizona in 2001, and two youngsters at the Hillier Gardens, from Grant Co., New Mexico, also in 2001. Specimens from collections made by Eike Jablonski in the Gila National Forest, New Mexico are in cultivation at Ettelbruck. Melendrez (2000) notes that the leaves fall late, dependent on the severity of the climate, sometimes persisting until new leaves emerge. They are greyish but show good autumnal colour, turning burgundy-red.