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Shrub or tree to 16 m, 0.6 m dbh. Crown compact, ovate in outline. Branchlets with yellowish grey stellate tomentum. Leaves evergreen, dark green, 2–8 × 1.5–4 cm, obovate to spathulate or elliptic, leathery, immature leaves pale green and covered in white hairs; in mature leaves, upper surface smooth, glossy and glabrous, lower surface pubescent or almost glabrous, seven to eight secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins entire or apically serrate, apex obtuse to mucronate; petiole 0.4–0.5 cm long, yellowish brown-tomentose. Infructescence tomentose, ~1 cm long with one (to two) cupules. Cupule cup-shaped, ~1 × 2 cm, outside reddish brown; scales linear to lanceolate with a reflexed apex. Acorn ovoid to subglobose, with two-thirds to three-quarters of its length enclosed in the cupule, 1.2–1.7 cm long, stylopodium easily broken. Flowering March to May, fruiting October of the following year (China). Huang et al. 1999, Menitsky 2005. Distribution CHINA: Gansu, Guizhou, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan. Habitat Montane forest between 500 and 2800 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 7–8. Conservation status Not evaluated. Illustration Huang et al. 1999, Menitsky 2005.
Quercus dolicholepis was apparently first introduced by the Fliegner, Howick, Mc-Namara and Staniforth expedition to Sichuan in 1992, under the number SICH 982. The parent was noted to be 5 m in height, growing on a steep mountainside at c.2510 m, with rhododendrons, pines and other shrubs. In cultivation it seems as if this height may be exceeded, as the specimen at Kew is now c.4.5 m tall, forming a small, bushy tree. The stem forked close to the ground and the tree is built around multiple vertical stems in its centre, forming a dense and rather dull dark green mass.
At the Hillier Gardens a young plant from Cao Ming 316, collected as Q. spinosa in Yunnan and distributed by the Kunming Botanical Garden, is now considered to be Q. dolicholepis. This too is growing well; although it lost its top in the 2005– 2006 winter, it was still 4 m tall in 2008. Another plant from the same collection is thriving at Chevithorne Barton, achieving the same height (A. Coombes, pers. comm. 2008). This is an attractive species, with conspicuous white hairs on the stems, and sparse creamish pubescence on the underside of the glossy leaves.