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Shrub or tree to 10 m, 0.8 m dbh. Bark greyish brown, rather smooth, becoming deeply furrowed and forming heavy ridges. Crown rounded. Branchlets covered in yellowish brown or grey tomentum. Leaves deciduous, 6–10(–15) × 3–7(–9) cm, ovate to oblong, upper surface dull green with sparse stellate hairs or glabrous, lower surface with dense pale yellowish grey stellate hairs, 6–16 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins regularly serrate with 8–14 teeth on each side of the midrib, apex acute; petiole 0.5–2 cm long. Infructescence to 15 cm long with one or two cupules. Cupule hemispheric, 3–4 × 2–3 cm, outside densely pubescent; lower scales rather short and blunt, apical scales with elongated apices that curl into and away from the acorn. Acorn elliptic, with one-third to half of its length enclosed in the cupule, to 1.8–5 cm long, stylopodium short. Fruiting August to October of the following year (Turkey). Browicz & Menitsky 1971, Hedge & Yaltirik 1994, Menitsky 2005. Distribution IRAN; IRAQ; SYRIA; TURKEY. Habitat Limestone slopes between 350 and 1700 m asl. Highly drought-tolerant. USDA Hardiness Zone 8. Conservation status Least Concern. Illustration Menitsky 2005; NT698, NT710. Cross-reference S412.
The nineteenth-century archaeologist Sir Austen Layard, who excavated the ruins of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, sent acorns of Quercus brantii to the Horticultural Society of London in the 1840s, but trees from this introduction are long gone (Clarke 1988). It was reintroduced into the United Kingdom in 1977 by the Fliegner & Simmons Expedition to Iran (FLSX), but individuals have grown very differently. At Kew a specimen from FLSX 487, collected in the Zagros Mountains at 1500 m, has formed an erect small tree (c.8 m) with ascending branches – although Allen Coombes has suggested (pers. comms. 2005, 2006) that this is an intermediate, as it resembles Q. libani, and the two species intergrade in the wild. There is a similar specimen at Chevithorne Barton. Another individual at Kew from FLSX 487 is a bushy, rather contorted tree, but it is growing upright, unlike two plants from FLSX 458 at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens which have both formed sprawling shrub-like specimens, with sinuous stems along the ground. Neither form produces what could be described as an exciting plant. A 1987 introduction is grown at Arboretum Trompenburg. Young plants of Turkish origin are in cultivation at Ettelbruck, where they are growing very slowly (E. Jablonski, pers. comm. 2006), and there is now further Iranian material at the Hillier Gardens.