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Tree to 15 m, branching from the base. Branchlets tomentose. Leaves semi-evergreen, 3–8 × 1.5–3 cm, narrowly elliptic, ovate or somewhat lanceolate, papery, immature leaves pubescent, but mature leaves almost glabrous, six to eight secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins serrate from middle to apex, apex acuminate; petiole 0.5–0.8 cm long, tomentose. Infructescence ~2.5 cm long with four to five cupules. Cupule cup- or kettle-shaped, 1–1.2 × 1–1.5 cm, with appressed hairs; scales triangular, not firmly attached to cupule wall. Acorn subglobose, with about three-quarters of its length enclosed in the cupule, 1–1.2 cm long, stylopodium persistent. Flowering April to June, fruiting September to November of the following year (China). Huang et al. 1999, Menitsky 2005. Distribution CHINA: Shaanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan. Habitat Mountain slopes and river valleys between 1000 and 2600 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone (8–)9. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Huang et al. 1999, Menitsky 2005.
The only specimens of Quercus cocciferoides known to be in cultivation are young plants at Wakehurst Place and the Hillier Gardens. Both of these were raised from Cao Ming 334, collected near Wuding, Yunnan in 1998. The Hillier plant was killed to the ground during the winter of 2005–2006, but resprouted in 2006.