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A deciduous tree 60 ft or more high; young shoots bright yellowish green, not downy, but slightly warted. Leaves obovate to oblong-lanceolate, pointed or rounded at the apex, always tapered at the base, very coarsely wavily toothed with ten to fifteen often bluntish teeth on each margin, veins conspicuous, parallel, running from the midrib to the point of each tooth, 4 to 8 in. long, 2 to 41⁄2 in. wide, dark lustrous green and glabrous above, pale or even semi-glaucous and covered with a fine close felt beneath; stalk 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long. Fruits stalkless or nearly so, mostly solitary but occasionally developing in twos or threes, 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, downy at the top, the cup enclosing one-third to one-half of the acorn, the scales appressed, downy.
Native of Japan, Korea, and China; introduced in 1908 to Kew. They are notable for the fine dark green leaves which strongly resemble those of the American chestnut oak, Q. prinus in their large size, obovate shape and prominent parallel ribs. That species is, however, well distinguished, in the adult state at any rate, by the distinctly stalked acorns and somewhat smaller leaves.
Q. aliena is very rare in cultivation, the only recorded specimens being two in the Oak collection at Kew from the introduction of 1908. They measure 58 × 31⁄4 ft and 48 × 31⁄4 ft (1972), the latter being the var. acuteserrata.
var. acuteserrata Maxim., has the teeth of the leaf more pointed; and often terminated by a distinct mucro. It is part of the normal variation of the species.
specimens: Kew, pl. 1909, 56 × 4 ft (1986); R.H.S. Garden, Wisley, Surrey, 31 × 3 ft (1983).