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An evergreen small tree or large shrub; branchlets stellate-hairy when young. Leaves thick and leathery, oblong-elliptic to oblanceolate, up to 4 in. long and 11⁄4 in. wide, coarsely toothed or undulately lobulate in the upper third to one-half of their length, apex obtuse to acute, base cuneate to obliquely truncate, upper surface dark green, glossy, rugulose, downy on the midrib, lower surface paler, with scattered hairs or almost glabrous, midrib, veins and veinlets prominent, the laterals mostly running out to the mucronately tipped teeth or lobules; petiole about 1⁄4 in. long. Fruits ripening the first year, two or three on a downy peduncle. Acorn ovoid, about 5⁄8 in. long; cup with appressed, downy scales, enclosing one half to one third of the acorn.
Native of Mexico; discovered by Hartweg and introduced by him, or by Fox-Strangways, about 1839. There was a specimen in the old Botanic Garden of Trinity College, Dublin, which in 1909 measured 25 × 21⁄2 ft. At the present time there is an example in the National Botanic Garden, Glasnevin, Dublin, pl. 1937, measuring 20 × 1 ft, and a smaller one at Kew, of shrubby habit.
Q. glabrescens is a handsome oak, apparently quite hardy, easily recognised by its thick, dark green, narrow, rugose leaves, waved or sharply toothed in the upper part, both types of leaf occurring on the same spray. On wild plants the leaves are sometimes entire.
This Mexican species was reintroduced by James Russell in 1984 from the Pic d’Orizaba, Veracruz.