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An evergreen tree up to 50 ft or more high in a wild state, free from down except for a sprinkling of scurfy stellate tomentum on shoot and leaf when they are quite young. Leaves stiff, leathery; elliptical, ovate or obovate; usually more or less abruptly tapered at the base; bluntish, rounded or pointed at the apex; coarsely toothed to merely wavy at the margin; 2 to 5 in. long, 11⁄4 to 3 in. wide; silvery-grey or whitish beneath; veins in six to eight pairs; stalk 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. long. Male flowers yellow, borne on slender erect spikes 4 or 5 in. long. Female catkins about as long, bearing stalkless fruits which, when developed, are globose, about 1⁄2 in. wide, covered with stiff short spines, and containing usually one nut.
Native of W. China; discovered in Yunnan by the Abbé Delavay; introduced by Forrest in 1924. It is in cultivation at Caerhays Castle, Cornwall.