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Tree to 25 m, to 2.4 m dbh; can form shrubby rhizomatous copses by clonal reproduction (Sternberg 2004). In habit, resembles Q. virginiana. Branchlets pale grey with minute tomentum. Leaves sub-evergreen, (1–)3.5– 9(–15) × (1.5–)2–4(–8.5) cm, oblong-elliptic to lanceolate, thin and leathery, upper surface glossy dark green and largely glabrous or with sparse stellate hairs, lower surface white or glaucous with dense minute stellate hairs, 8–10 obscure secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins flat or revolute, entire or with one to three mucronate teeth on each side, apex obtuse to acute; petiole 0.2–1.2 cm. Infructescence 0.3–3 cm long with one to three cupules. Cupule funnel-shaped or hemispheric, 0.6–1.5 × 0.8–1.5 cm, base constricted; scales basally thickened, acute to attenuate and slightly tomentose. Acorn subfusiform, with one-third of its length enclosed in the cupule, 2–3 cm long, stylopodium persistent. Flowering March to April, fruiting September to October (USA). Nixon 1997, Sternberg 2004. Distribution MEXICO: Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas; USA: Oklahoma, Texas. Habitat Oak-juniper woodland, thorn scrub and grasslands between 0 and 1200 m asl. Often on limestone or calcareous soils. USDA Hardiness Zone (5~)6. Conservation status Least Concern. Illustration Nixon 1997, Sternberg 2004; NT693, NT698. Taxonomic note Quercus fusiformis is closely related to Q. virginiana and intergrades with it in parts of Texas.
Sternberg (2004) writes of this species with some enthusiasm as a potential substitute for Q. virginiana in places that are too cold or too alkaline for that coastal species to survive. At Sternberg’s own Starhill Forest Arboretum in Illinois (Zone 5) Q. fusiformis is proving surprisingly hardy, but is partially deciduous, and specimens are stunted. In Europe it seems to be represented only by young trees in the major collections. One at Thenford House is growing well, although still only 1.2 m tall.