Tree to 9 m. Bark dark grey. Branchlets brown, glabrous or somewhat pubescent. Leaves deciduous, 4–5 × 1.8–2.5 cm, ovate to lanceolate, upper surface glabrous (slightly villous when young), lower surface veins villous, 10–15 secondary veins on each side of the midvein, margins double-serrate to single-serrate, apex caudate to acuminate; petiole somewhat pubescent, 0.8–1.5 cm long. Monoecious; staminate inflorescences catkin-like; pistillate inflorescences catkin-like, pedunculate, 4–6 × 2–2.5 cm, densely pubescent. Flowers inconspicuous; bracts imbricate, elliptic, papery, 1.8–2 × 0.5 cm, with five veins, margins coarsely dentate. Fruit a nutlet with six longitudinal ribs. Flowering May to June, fruiting July to August (China). Rushforth 1985, Li & Skvortsov 1999. Distribution CHINA: Fujian; TAIWAN. Habitat Open areas with subtropical forest, between 500 and 2000 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Conservation status Not evaluated.
Rushforth (1985) mentioned that young trees of this species were in cultivation at Kew and the Hillier Gardens, but these individuals have died and been replaced, in both collections, by much later introductions. The Kew specimens came as seed from the Taipei Botanic Garden and the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute in 1998, while those at Hillier were from ETE 156, gathered in 1993 (this is not represented in the Edinburgh collection). The plants at Kew have already reached 5 m, with multiple erect stems from shortly above the ground. The pointed leaves are held stiffly in an attractive herring bone pattern, and are mid-green with a slight gloss at maturity, flushing bronze; there is a strong resemblance to Tilia kiusiana. These trees were still in perfect green leaf in mid-December 2006. Tom Hudson (pers. comm. 2005) has found that there is considerable variation in the size of leaves in seedlings raised from seed from the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute. From the same source are derived several specimens at Quarryhill, received in 2002 as seed collected at 1860 m in Taichung County, Taiwan, and planted out in 2003–2004. These are already 2–4 m tall, again with a sharply upright habit and multiple stems, and orderly branching (H. Higson, pers. comm. 2006). Collections of this or a closely related taxon have been commercially distributed from Heronswood Nursery and Crûg Farm as Carpinus aff. kawakamii, from BSWJ 3404.