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Tree to 15 m, 0.7 m dbh. Branchlets greyish and densely covered in lenticels. Leaves papery or thin and leathery, 12–25 × 5–7.2 cm, oblong to obovate, upper surface glabrous, lower surface with rusty scales or tomentum along the midrib, 12–25 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, tertiary veins conspicuous on lower leaf surface, margins with a few apical teeth or entire, apex acute to acuminate; petiole 2–5 cm long. Monoecious. Staminate inflorescences paniculate, to 20 cm long. Pistillate inflorescences with cupules in clusters of three; cupule plate-shaped, 0.7–1 cm diameter, covered with triangular or rhomboid, imbricate bracts; enclosing one-fifth to one-quarter of the nut. Nut globose and with a depressed apex or conical, 1.6–2.2 cm long. Flowering May to August, fruiting August to November of the following year (Taiwan). Huang et al. 1999. Distribution TAIWAN. Habitat Evergreen broadleaved forest between 700 and 2900 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8–9. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration NT461.
Lithocarpus kawakamii is sparsely represented in cultivation, but appears to be a vigorous grower. At Tregrehan there are a few trees derived from Tom Hudson’s first numbered collection, TH 001, made at Hsitou on the slopes of Alishan in 1989, and planted out in 1992. They have done very well, being 5 m tall when seen in 2005, forming shapely rounded trees covered in large dull dark green leaves that are paler beneath. The most vigorous individual there is growing in a particularly damp site. The species is also grown at the David C. Lam Asian Garden in Vancouver, where it is represented by a solitary survivor of a collection by the Taiwanese Research Institute’s Botanical Garden, made at Yakou, Taiwan at 2355 m, in 2000. This individual was unfortunately gnawed by voles soon after planting in 2002, but has now recovered and is making good growth (P. Wharton, pers. comm. 2007).