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Tree to 5–8(–10) m, shrubby in poor habitats. Bark grey, broken into flat, narrow ridges with deep intervening fissures. Branches erect, spreading. Branchlets initially covered with stellate tomentum, later reddish brown, glabrous. Leaves deciduous, (2–)4–9(–21) × (2–)5–9(–12) cm, obovate or elliptic, immature leaves covered with dense white stellate tomentum, mature leaves largely glabrous, six to nine secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins entire or with up to six shallow (or rarely deep) lobes, apex rounded; petiole 0.3–1.2 cm long. Infructescence 1(–3) cm long with one to two cupules. Cupule saucer-shaped, 1–1.8 × 0.4–0.7 cm; scales somewhat tuberculate, covered with easily detachable hairs. Acorn oblong, one-quarter to one-third of its length enclosed in the cupule, 1–2 cm long, with a short stylopodium. Flowering April, fruiting October (USA). Nixon & Muller 1992, Nixon 1997. Distribution MEXICO: Coahuila, Nuevo León; USA: Texas (Edwards Plateau). Habitat Woodland, canyons, along streams in limestone hills between 350 and 2200 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 6. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Nixon 1997; NT734.
As a white oak of southern origin, Quercus laceyi cannot be expected to thrive in northern Europe, and it is indeed very rare here. In the United States, however, Sternberg (2004) notes that it is hardy to Zone 6, its tolerance to colder conditions facilitated by its becoming deciduous. He also comments that this results in good yellow to red autumn colour. At Starhill Forest Arboretum one young plant is surviving, but struggling. The leaves are small and neat, with a few rounded lobes, and are mid-green with a hint of glaucescence. Allen Coombes (pers. comms. 2006, 2008) reports that a young tree at the Hillier Gardens has attractive pink new foliage; it put on good growth during the hot summer of 2006, and is now 2.4 m tall. At Arboretum de la Bergerette it suffers from dieback (S. Haddock, pers. comm. 2006), but has reached 4 m (A. Coombes, pers. comm. 2008).