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Tree to 20 m, 0.6 m dbh. Branchlets reddish grey or black with some stellate tomentum. Leaves deciduous, (4–)6–17(–22) × (2–)3–8(–11) cm, thick and leathery, obovate to elliptic, immature leaves reddish and with dense yellowish stellate tomentum, mature leaves upper surface lustrous green with sparse stellate and simple hairs, particularly at the base of the midrib, lower surface yellowish green with short stellate tomentum, 7–12 secondary veins on each side of the midrib terminating in a robust marginal mucro, margins revolute and dentate with three to nine teeth towards the apex, apex obtuse or rounded; petiole 0.3–1.5 cm long and glabrous. Infructescence 3–6 cm long with one to three (or more) cupules. Cupule hemispheric, 1.2–1.8 × 0.7–1 cm; scales pubescent, acute with a swollen base. Acorn globose, with one-third of its length enclosed in the cupule, 0.6–2 cm long, stylopodium short. Flowering April to May, fruiting August to October (Mexico). Gonzalez & Labat 1987, Romero Rangel et al. 2002. Distribution MEXICO: Distrito Federal, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, México, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, Zacatecas. Habitat Pine-oak forest, mesophytic montane forest and xerophytic scrub between 620 and 2580 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Conservation status Least Concern. Illustration Gonzalez & Labat 1987, Romero Rangel et al. 2002.
The only specimens of Quercus obtusata traced in the United Kingdom are at the Hillier Gardens, grown from Coombes 257, collected in Hidalgo in 1995. The best of these is now just over 2 m tall, but growing well and forming a straight leader with spreading branches. At Arboretum de la Bergerette a tree from the same collection has done much better, now being approximately 6.2 m tall (2008) (S. Haddock, pers. comms. 2006, 2008). Its comparatively hairy leaves are quite distinctive among other smaller-leaved Mexican species, and are a good red when young (A. Coombes, pers. comm. 2006).