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Shrub or small tree to 12 m. Bark thin and smooth, becoming dark and slightly furrowed near the ground. Branches short and spreading, with the twigs intricately interlaced. Branchlets slender, dark reddish brown with persistent pubescence, rarely glabrous. Leaves evergreen or semi-evergreen, 1.5–5(–7) × 1–2.5(–3.5) cm, elliptic to obovate (rarely spathulate), upper surface glabrous and glossy, lower surface glabrous except for tufts of tomentum in the vein axils (and sometimes small reddish spots), six to eight secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins entire and revolute, but with one to four bristles, apex obtuse to rounded; petiole 0.1–0.5 cm long and generally glabrous. Cupules one to two, sessile or with peduncle to 1.6 cm; saucer-shaped, 0.8–1.4 × 0.4–0.7 cm, outer surface minutely pubescent, inner surface pubescent; scales acute and tightly appressed. Acorn ovoid to globose, with one-quarter to one-third of its length enclosed in the cupule, 0.9–1.4 cm long, stylopodium prominent and elongated. Flowering March, fruiting August to September of the following year (USA). Nixon 1997. Distribution USA: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina. Habitat Dunes, sand hills and oak scrub between 0 and 100 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 7. Conservation status Least Concern. Illustration Nixon 1997. Cross-reference K98.
This is a species from the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States and is only ever likely to have a marginal existence in northern Europe, or even further north in its native country. There are a few representatives in the Hillier Gardens, the largest of which (2–2.5 m) were collected by Sir Harold Hillier in 1983. They are small trees with a shrubby head, but the neat, glossy dark green leaves are attractive.