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A deciduous tree 20 to 30 ft high; young shoots clothed with short, clustered hairs, which mostly fall away by autumn. Leaves obovate or broadly wedge-shaped, often lobed towards the apex, the midrib always, and the lobes often, terminated by a short bristle (mucro), base mostly tapered, sometimes rounded, 2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. wide, on first expanding they are covered with clustered hairs which soon fall away, leaving the upper surface glabrous and of a clear pleasant green, the lower surface glabrous also, except for tufts of down in the vein-axils; midrib and veins pale coloured and prominent beneath; leaf-stalk 1⁄2 in. or rather more long. Fruits described as solitary or in pairs borne on a short stalk; acorn roundish egg-shaped, 1⁄2 in. wide; cup shallow.
Native of Arkansas and Alabama, where it is rare and local; introduced from the Arnold Arboretum to Kew, where it has succeeded well and is now a bushy-headed tree measuring 46 × 31⁄2 ft (1972). It is related to Q. marilandica, but the leaves are not so firm and leathery nor ordinarily so deeply lobed. It is intermediate between that species and Q. nigra, and is possibly the result of past crossing between them.
The specimen at Kew in the Oak Collection measures 56 × 4 ft (1986).