A tree to about 75 ft high in the wild; winter-buds stalked; young stems glabrous or almost so, finely glandular. Leaves leathery, obovate to elliptic, mostly rounded at the apex, cuneate at the base, 2 to 5 in. long, 11⁄2 to 21⁄4 in. wide, edged with large, double, distant teeth, covered beneath with a fine yellowish or brownish down, and also glandular there with similarly coloured glands. A native of the mountains of Mexico and Guatemala; introduced to Kew in 1980.
The subsp. lutea Furlow, which has bright yellow glands on the undersurface of the leaves, occurs mostly at lower elevations, but there is some overlap.
Seeds of this species were collected by James Russell in Veracruz state in 1983. One seedling, planted at Castle Howard in Yorkshire in spring 1985 when 5 ft high, grew fast but was killed by icy winds in February of the following year. According to him it is a handsome species, resembling at a distance an evergreen oak.