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Tree to 35 m (generally smaller), 0.15–0.6(–1) m dbh. Bark grey, smooth when young. Branchlets with numerous yellow or pale brown lenticels. Leaves evergreen, dark green, 5–27 × 1.5–7 cm, lanceolate to ovate, immature leaves densely covered in stellate pubescence, strongly flushed red or bronze especially in the second flush; mature leaves glabrous above and with tufts of easily dislodged stellate hairs below, 10–12 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins with four to ten teeth on either side, apex obtuse or attenuate; petiole 0.8–2.5 cm long and brown. Infructescence 1 cm long with one to three cupules. Cupule shallow, 1.2–2 × 0.7–1 cm; scales dentate and interlocking, dark-edged and covered with silky hairs. Acorn ovoid, with one-third to half of its length enclosed in the cupule, ~1.5 cm long. Flowering January, fruiting November (Mexico). Gonzalez & Labat 1987, Romero Rangel et al. 2002. Distribution MEXICO: Guerrero, Jalisco, México, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Puebla. Habitat Transitional zone between montane and cloud forest, between 1000 and 2500 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Gonzalez & Labat 1987, Romero Rangel et al. 2002.
Introduced by Allen Coombes (no. 293) from Puebla in 1995, and from later gatherings, this remains a rare tree, but it is established in some specialist collections. At Arboretum de la Bergerette a specimen from Coombes 412 is 6 m tall from planting in 1999, and has not been affected by cold or drought (S. Haddock, pers. comm. 2006). The finest specimen seen in the United Kingdom in the research for New Trees is at Chevithorne Barton, currently c.7 m tall (2008) and growing well, and particularly attractive when seen in September as the second flush of growth was developing. The new leaves are red and hairy, soon losing the hairs and becoming bronze. In contrast, the older leaves are a rather dull dark green. A tree from Coombes 427 at Thenford House has developed a flat-topped, spreading habit.