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An evergreen tree up to 30 or 40 ft high in Japan, often shrubby in this country; young shoots and leaves covered at first with a brown floss, then quite glabrous. Leaves stout and leathery, oval, sometimes inclined to ovate; tapering or (especially in young plants) rounded at the base and with slenderly tapered, often bluntish points, 21⁄2 to 51⁄2 in. long, 7⁄8 to 21⁄4 in. wide; the margins entire and undulated; stalk up to 1 in. long, at first downy like the young wood. The upper surface is dark glossy green; lower one dull, yellowish; veins eight to ten each side the midrib. Fruits crowded on a spike; cup downy.
Introduced from Japan by Maries about 1878 to the Coombe Wood nursery, where one of his original plants became a bushy tree over 20 ft high. It has proved to be perfectly hardy and is a useful evergreen of slow growth. It is only likely to be confused with Lithocarpus edulis (q.v. in Vol. II).
A tree at Kew, although planted in 1888, measures only 15 × 11⁄4 ft (1965). Growth is better south of London and in the western counties: Grayswood Hill, Surrey, 34 × 3 ft + 23⁄4 ft (1968); Wakehurst Place, Sussex, and Borde Hill, Sussex, shrubby trees about 20 ft high (1967-8); Warnham Court, Sussex, 30 × 11⁄2 ft (1969); Westonbirt, Glos., Loop, 33 × 21⁄4 ft at 3 ft (1971); Killerton, Devon, 41 × 3 ft at 6 ft and, by Chapel, 45 × 3 ft + 21⁄2 ft (1970); Caerhays, Cornwall, 42 × 51⁄2 ft (1971), and several others 33 to 39 ft high; Trewithen, Cornwall, 30 × 23⁄4 ft at 2 ft (1971).
specimens: Grayswood Hill, Haslemere, Surrey, 36 ft high on three stems each about 31⁄2 ft in girth; Kew, this plant has been removed but there are younger examples in the collection; Borde Hill, Sussex, a shrubby tree about 20 ft high (1985); Westonbirt, Glos., this plant died 1980; Killerton, Devon, 49 × 51⁄4 ft and another 46 × 63⁄4 ft (1984); Caerhays, Cornwall, 42 × 6 ft (1975) and another 46 × 63⁄4 ft (1984); Dyffryn Gardens, near Cardiff, 38 ft high on many stems and another 33 × 23⁄4 ft (1984).