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Tree to 9 m (or more), 0.6 m dbh. Bark dark grey, smooth when young, cracking up at base with age (not recorded from mature trees). Branchlets slender, ranging from grey-tomentose to glossy red and glabrous; grey-brown with white lenticels at maturity. Leaves deciduous (or semi-evergreen), 2.5–6.5 × 0.6–2.2 cm, lanceolate, immature leaves glossy green with stellate indumentum above, pale green with inter locking stellate indumentum below, mature leaves very glossy and almost glabrous above, but for short hairs on the midrib, lower surface grey to glaucous with short hairs, ~10 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins entire, undulate or with several small teeth, apex acute; petiole 0.5 cm long, pubescent. Infructescence with one to two cupules. Cupule hemispheric, 0.6–1 × 0.4 cm; scales blunt and appressed. Acorn ovoid, somewhat silky, with half of its length enclosed in the cupule, 1–1.2 cm long, stylopodium prominent. Fruiting September (Mexico). Trelease 1924. Distribution MEXICO: Chihuahua, Durango, Sinaloa, Sonora. Habitat Oak and pine-oak forest between 1700 and 2300 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Conservation status Not evaluated.
This is another oak that seems likely to reach greater heights in cultivation than it usually achieves in the wild. Two specimens seen in the United Kingdom, at the Hillier Gardens and Chevithorne Barton, are at about 8 m, after 24 and 14 years respectively, Curiously, both are leaning, and neither looks particularly attractive, with heavy masses of very dark foliage, although both are growing well. The Hampshire tree was grown from Sir Harold Hillier’s collection (no. 586) made in 1979, which was probably the first introduction of the species.