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Tree to 25 m, 1.5 m dbh; can form shrubby rhizomatous copses by clonal reproduction. Bark dark grey, deeply furrowed. Crown widely spreading. Branchlets yellowish to pale grey and quickly glabrous. Leaves sub-evergreen, (1–)3.5–6(–12) × (0.7–)1–3(–4.5) cm, narrowly lanceolate or elliptic, rarely orbicular, thin and leathery, upper surface glossy dark green and largely glabrous or with sparse stellate hairs, lower surface white or glaucous with dense minute fused-stellate hairs and scattered erect spreading hairs, 8–10(–12) deeply impressed secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins strongly revolute and entire, apex acute (rarely obtuse); petiole 0.3–2 cm. Infructescence 1–10 cm long with one to three cupules. Cupule goblet-shaped or hemispheric, rarely saucer-shaped, 0.5–1.5 × 0.8–1.5 cm, base constricted; scales basally thickened, white or grey with reddish tips, acute to attenuate and slightly tomentose. Acorn ovoid, with one-third to half of its length enclosed in the cupule, 1.5–2 cm long, stylopodium persistent. Flowering April to May, fruiting August to October (USA). Nixon 1997, Sternberg 2004. Distribution CUBA (?); USA: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina. Habitat Open evergreen woodland and scrub on the deep sandy soils of the Coastal Plain between 0 and 200 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 7–8. Conservation status Least Concern. Illustration Nixon 1997, Sternberg 2004. Taxonomic note Quercus geminata is closely related to Q. virginiana, and intergrades with it in North Carolina and in coastal Mississippi. Quercus cubana A. Rich., endemic to western Cuba, is believed to have originated as a hybrid swarm, with Q. geminata and Q. oleoides Schltdl. & Cham. as parents (Nixon 1997).
Its southern distribution and close relationship to Quercus virginiana suggest that Q. geminata is unlikely to perform very well in most of our area. In the wild it is found on sandy soils (Sternberg 2004). In Europe it is very rare. There is a 5.3 m specimen (2008) dating to 1997 at Arboretum de la Bergerette (S. Haddock, pers. comm. 2006), but the only one seen in England, in research for the present work, is a very young plant at Thenford House showing good growth for the season, with the shoot tip bronze. The species was cultivated at Arboretum Ettelbruck for a few years but plants were small, and died in the winter of 2005–2006 (E. Jablonski, pers. comm. 2006).