Tree to 30 m tall. Young shoots reddish brown, hairy at first becoming glabrous by then end of the first year. Leaves evergreen, leathery, to 11 × 4.5 cm, ovate to elliptic or lanceolate, rounded at the base, tapering to a slender point at the apex, margin edged with slender, pointed teeth, often only towards the apex, or entire; sparsely hairy when young, particularly on the veins beneath, becoming glossy green above, paler beneath, and glabrous by the second year. Up to 12 pairs of veins either side of the midrib. Petiole glabrous, to 2 cm long. Infructescence short, 2 cm or less, bearing 1 or 2 cupules. Cup hemispherical, to 2 cm across, with appressed, tomentose scales. Acorns ovoid, to 2 × 1 cm, with a point at the apex, about a quarter enclosed in the cup and ripening the first year. (Huang et al. 1999; Menitsky 2005; le Hardÿ de Beaulieu & Lamant 2010).
Distribution China Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Yunnan Laos Thailand Vietnam
Habitat Riverbanks and mixed mountain forests at 100–1300 m asl.
USDA Hardiness Zone 7
Conservation status Least concern (LC)
Two small plants at Arboretum des Pouyouleix, France, were raised from seed collected by Josef Soucek in China in 2013. With a southern distribution at low elevations, Quercus setulosa has not performed well there. The surviving plants have been cut back during winter and several others have died. It might be better in a milder location (B. Chassé pers. comm. 2020).
Described in 1923, the epithet means ‘with little bristles’ (from Latin setula = small bristle, coarse hair), in reference to the leaf margin.