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Tree to 12 m, 0.4 m dbh. Branchlets with dense yellow tomentum when young; glabrous or partially tomentose when woody. Leaves deciduous, 15–21 × 7–11 cm, elliptic to ovate, upper surface with yellow stellate hairs or glabrous and dark green, lower surface yellow and velvety, 12–16 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margin entire, sinuate or with occasional bristles, apex acute or acuminate; petiole pinkish, 1–1.4 cm long, glabrous or tomentose. Infructescence with one to two cupules. Cupule saucer-shaped, 2–2.5 cm diameter; scales thin and blunt, light brown to grey. Acorn round to ovoid, with one-third to half of its length enclosed in the cupule, 1.5–2 cm long with a stylopodium. Fruiting in the second year (Mexico). Trelease 1924, Gonzalez & Labat 1987. Distribution MEXICO: Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, Sinaloa. Habitat Pine-oak forest between 680 and 1960 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Nixon 1997.
This Mexican endemic is apparently rare in cultivation, but seems to be to growing quite well at Chevithorne Barton, where there is a 3.5 m specimen (2008), and has done very much better in the mild climate of southwest France, where one tree has reached 6 m in Michel Duhart’s collection near Ustaritz (A. Coombes, pers. comm. 2006). Both of these individuals came from Coombes 184, collected in 1995 in Nayarit, Mexico at only 1020 m – rather a low altitude from which to hope for hardiness in a Mexican species (A. Coombes, pers. comm. 2006). Also from Nayarit is a tree at Tregrehan that was planted in 1998 and is now 4 m tall (T. Hudson, pers. comm. 2008). The mature leaves are a dull dark green, but when young flush crimson below yellow hairs, giving a striking and attractive appearance. At this stage the leaves are velvety to touch but, as in most oaks, the pubescence wears off as the leaves mature.