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Tree to 15 m. Bark dark grey. Branchlets densely covered with yellowish grey hairs. Leaves evergreen, 5–12 × 2.5–6 cm, obovate to elliptic, thin and leathery, immature leaves covered in yellowish grey glandu lar hairs; in mature leaves, upper surface glabrous while lower surface retains the hairs, 8–12 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins with gland-tipped serrations on the upper half, apex acuminate to obtuse; petiole 1–2 cm long and densely tomentose. Infructescence 1–2 cm long with five to six cupules. Cupule cup-shaped or discoid, 0.7–1.2 × 1–1.4 cm, outside grey-tomentose; scales triangular to tuberculate. Acorn subglobose, with half of its length enclosed in the cupule, 1.1–1.3 cm long, stylopodium persistent, to 0.3 cm long. Flowering February to March, fruiting September (China). Huang et al. 1999, Menitsky 2005. Distribution CHINA: Sichuan, Yunnan; THAILAND; VIETNAM. Habitat Mixed forest between 800 and 2600 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 5–6. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Huang et al. 1999, Menitsky 2005; NT697.
Quercus franchetii seems to be rare in cultivation, the largest seen for the present work being a specimen at Tregrehan. Grown from a young plant bought in 1990 from Susan Cooper, who received acorns from Kunming Botanical Garden, this is forming a nice, upright tree of about 6 m at present – rather unlike the somewhat shrubby specimens seen in the wild (T. Hudson, pers. comm. 2006). At Shaun Haddock’s Arboretum de la Bergerette it has achieved 6 m (2008) since being sown in 1998, from a collection made near Kunming by Zhou Zhekun, distributed through the International Oak Society seed exchange. The tree at La Bergerette is forming a spreading canopy, growing in a comparatively moist site (S. Haddock, pers. comm. 2006). A recently planted specimen at Starhill Forest Arboretum had densely pubescent new growth when seen in 2006, this new growth being a beautiful pink colour. The mature leaves retain long white hairs on their undersides.