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An evergreen tree 30 to 50 ft in the wild, or even higher, but a bush or shrubby tree in cultivation; young shoots glabrous, warted the second year. Leaves lanceolate, broadly tapered or rounded at the base, and with long, slender points, the upper half toothed, 21⁄2 to 4 in. long, 5⁄8 to 11⁄4 in. wide, pale shining green above, somewhat glaucous beneath, glabrous on both surfaces; stalk 1⁄2 in. long. When young the leaves are of a rich purplish red, very striking against the green of the older foliage. The female flowers are produced on long slender peduncles, the upper part of which falls away, the persistent lower part up to 2 in. long, bearing two to four fruits ripening the first season; acorn narrow-ovoid, 3⁄4 to 1 in. long, set in shallow hemispherical cup, the scale of which are arranged in seven to nine concentric rings.
Native of S. China, Laos, and Japan; introduced from China by Fortune in 1854. As a garden oak, it is chiefly notable for the colour of its young foliage and graceful, narrow leaves. With Q. acuta it is the hardiest member of the subgenus Cyclobalanopsis. There are examples 35 to almost 40 ft in height and 13⁄4 to 21⁄4 ft in girth at Syon House, London; Tittenhurst, Berks; Leonardslee. Sussex; and Caerhays, Cornwall (1967-72).
specimens: Syon Park, London, 35 × 23⁄4 ft (1982); Wakehurst Place, Sussex, 36 × 2 ft (1984); Leonardslee, Sussex, 60 × 21⁄2 ft (1985); South Lodge, Sussex, 50 × 43⁄4 + 31⁄2 ft at 3 ft, a superb tree (1985); Frensham Hall, near Haslemere, Surrey, 56 × 3 + 23⁄4 ft (1981); Bicton, Devon, 35 × 41⁄2 ft at 3 ft (1983); Caerhays Castle, Cornwall, 52 × 21⁄2 ft at 3 ft (1984).