Quercus acutissima Carruth.

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Allen Coombes

Recommended citation
Coombes, A., 'Quercus acutissima' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/quercus/quercus-acutissima/). Accessed 2020-04-05.


  • Quercus
  • Subgenus Cerris, Section Cerris

Common Names

  • Sawtooth oak


  • Q. serrata Sieb. & Zucc., not Thunb.

Other species in genus


Cone. Used here to indicate male pollen-producing structure in conifers which may or may not be cone-shaped.
Plant originating from the cross-fertilisation of genetically distinct individuals (e.g. two species or two subspecies).
(especially of surface of a leaf) Lower; facing away from the axis. (Cf. adaxial.)


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Allen Coombes

Recommended citation
Coombes, A., 'Quercus acutissima' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/quercus/quercus-acutissima/). Accessed 2020-04-05.

Tree to 25 m, 1 m or more [“dbh” NOT DIAM] diam. Bark grey-brown, deeply ridged with age. Young shoots downy, soon becoming glabrous. Leaves deciduous, glossy dark green above, paler beneath, 8-20 × 2-6 cm, ovate-lanceolate, rounded or broadly tapered at the base, taper-pointed to a slender bristle tip at the apex. Young leaves thinly hairy, becoming glabrous on both sides or with hairs in the vein axils and on the main veins on the paler lower surface. Veins 10-20 pairs on each side of the midrib, the leaf margin edged with teeth tipped with a slender bristle to 4 mm long. Fruits sessile, cupules hemispherical, to 4 cm diam., covered in long, slender, recurved and downy scales. Acorn ovoid to ellipsoid, to 2.5 cm long, about half enclosed in the cupule. Fruit biennial, ripening September-October. [REFS].

Distribution  China Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang Japan AS PER COMMENTS UNDER Q. ACUTA PLEASE South Korea DITTO Thailand DITTO

Habitat Forests between sea level and 3200 m.

USDA Hardiness Zone 5

RHS Hardiness Rating H6

Conservation status Not evaluated (NE)

Introduced from Japan to Kew by Richard Oldham about 1862. It is a neat and cheerful-looking tree suitable for a limited space. Sargent says that in Japan it springs up on waste land in great numbers, but is only valued as fuel. Silkworms feed on its leaves. It is closely related to Q. variabilis which has corky bark and leaves grey-felted beneath. The only other oak with which it is likely to be confused is Q. castaneifolia, but that may be easily distinguished by its shoots being downy throughout the first season or longer, by the thicker, shorter, quite downy leaf-stalk, the leaves which are greyish beneath and by the absence of the bristly termination to its coarser teeth. According to Saito et al. (2017) it is an economically important tree widely cultivated in Japan where the wood is used for building and cultivation of Shiitake mushrooms and the acorns are eaten. They also state that Japanese populations were probably established from trees that escaped from cultivation and the species was perhaps introduced from neighbouring continental Asia.

Q. acutissima was introduced to the USA about 1862 is naturalized in several of the eastern states where it has been planted as a food source for wildlife, especially turkeys. Whittemore (2004) states that planting large stands of Q. acutissima in natural areas is likely to result in its establishment and spread. A hybrid with Q. cerris is grown at the Arnold Arboretum, received in 1932 and with diameter of 51.3 cm in 2017 [REF]. [WORTH MENTIONING IF IT IS ON ANY ‘WATCH LIST’ ETC IN THE US?]

Lytchett Heath, Poole, Dorset 19.5 m x 110 cm (2017), Britain & Ireland Champion for girth; Westonbirt Arboretum 22.0 m x 35 cm (2014), Britain & Ireland Champion for height (TROBI). Grayswood Hill 14 m x 64 cm (2010, TROBI), Windsor Great Park 18 m x 54 cm (2010, TROBI), Kew 15 m x 30 cm (2016 TROBI), Sir Harold Hillier Gardens 20.1 m x 57 cm (2016), Petworth Park 17 m x 66 cm (2010 TROBI), Thorp Perrow Arboretum 18 m x 30 cm (2004 TROBI), Borde Hill 15 m x 53 cm (2010 TROBI), Chevithorne Barton 15 m x 40 cm (2017 TROBI), RBG Edinburgh 10 m x 28 cm (2004 TROBI), Mount Usher 13 m x 46 cm (2015 TROBI).

In continental Europe: Allée Zéline Reclus (Carlitos), Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France 22 ×1.60 m (2018). Palais Beaumont, Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France 21.2 × 1.12 m (2018) (Monumental Trees), Arboretum La Bergerette 13.7 m x 30 cm (2008)

In the USA it is grown in many collections particularly in the eastern part of the country. Notable trees include: Greenwich, Connecticut 22.8 × 83.3 cm, undated. Nolte Park, Maryland, 19.8 m × 111 cm (2015). Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia 16.7 × 126 cm (2015).

In the southern hemisphere it is grown at Grigadale Arboretum (several trees to 16.8 m x 39.5 cm in 2018) and San Miguel Arboretum, Argentina (several trees), at Eastwoodhill (20 m, from Hillier Nurseries) and Hackfalls Arboretum (11 m x 36 cm in 2004), New Zealand, and the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne [REFS].


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