Quercus mongolica Fisch.

TSO logo


Kindly sponsored by
The Trees and Shrubs Online Oak Consortium


Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

Recommended citation
'Quercus mongolica' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/quercus/quercus-mongolica/). Accessed 2021-03-02.


  • Quercus
  • Subgen. Quercus, Sect. Quercus

Other species in genus


(var.) Taxonomic rank (varietas) grouping variants of a species with relatively minor differentiation in a few characters but occurring as recognisable populations. Often loosely used for rare minor variants more usefully ranked as forms.


There are currently no active references in this article.


Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

Recommended citation
'Quercus mongolica' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/quercus/quercus-mongolica/). Accessed 2021-03-02.

This species is mainly represented in cultivation by the following variety:

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

The fine specimen of var. grosseserrata in the Oak Collection at Kew, raised from the 1893 seed, seems to be the only large example in Britain. It measures 60 × 712 ft (1986).

From New Trees

Quercus mongolica Fisch. ex Ledeb.

(Subgen. Quercus, Sect. Quercus)

Mongolian Oak

subsp. mongolica

Tree to 30 m, 1 m dbh. Crown irregular. Bark grey or black with deep longitudinal fissures. Branchlets glabrous, reddish or purplish brown with sparse lenticels. Leaves deciduous, (5–)7–19(–23) × (2–)3–11 cm, obovate, largely glabrous, though there may be some hairs along the veins, (5–)10–18 secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins with (5–)7–10 rounded lobes on each side of the leaf, apex truncate, mucronate or cuspidate; petiole 0.2–0.8 cm long and glabrous. Infructescence 0.5–2 cm long with four to five cupules, though typically only one or two are fertile. Cupule cup-shaped, 0.8–1.5 × 1.2–1.8(–2.8) cm, outside densely or sparsely grey-pubescent; scales triangular to ovate with bulbous bases and narrow apices, some tuberculate. Acorn narrowly ovoid to ellipsoid, with one-third to half of its length enclosed in the cupule, 1.5–2.4 cm long, stylopodium persistent. Flowering May to June, fruiting September to October (China). Huang et al. 1999, Menitsky 2005. Distribution CHINA: Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan; NORTH KOREA; RUSSIAN FEDERATION; SOUTH KOREA. Habitat Mixed forest between 200 and 2500 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 4. Conservation status Least Concern. Illustration Huang et al. 1999, Menitsky 2005; NT698. Taxonomic note Quercus mongolica, when treated in its broadest sense as in Flora of China (Huang et al. 1999), is a widespread and variable species. However, three recognisable forms of it are in cultivation. Typical Q. mongolica (for example, subsp. mongolica, Govaerts & Frodin 1998) occurs in northeast China, Korea and eastern Russia (incl. Sakhalin), and is described above. The taxon known commonly as var. grosseserrata (Blume) Rehder & E.H. Wilson, but correctly as subsp. crispula (Blume) Menitsky, also occurs in northeast China, Korea and eastern Russia, but in Japan as well, and was described by Bean (B496, S413) and Krüssmann (K97). It differs from typical Q. mongolica in that the leaf lobes are sharp and pointed. Subsp. crispula also appears to retain its leaves for longer (for example, at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in October 2005, the leaves of Q. mongolica subsp. mongolica were dry and brown while those of subsp. crispula were still green). Quercus wutaishanica (incl. Q. liaotungensis, Govaerts & Frodin 1998) of northwest China has smaller leaves (7–16.5 × 3.5–7.5 cm) and flatter cupule scales. Its leaves are also green in October (for example, at Kew). It is probable that the comparatively small sample of collections seen in cultivation do not accurately reflect the continuum of variation seen in the wild.

Quercus mongolica subsp. mongolica is not nearly as common in European cultivation as its sister taxon subsp. crispula, young plants at the Hillier Gardens being the only ones seen in research for this work. As noted above, the broad, round-toothed leaves are distinctive. Several trees labelled Q. liaotungensis are growing well at the Morton Arboretum, from collections made in 1990 by arboretum staff in the Pangquangou Nature Protection Area, Luliang Shan, Shanxi, China. These are making broad trees with good central leaders, up to 7–8 m in height. Their foliage is characteristic of the broad Q. mongolica concept. As an oak for cold winter climates, Q. mongolica is ideal. At Starhill Forest Arboretum in central Illinois it is the first oak to break in spring, but the new leaves are not affected by frost (G. Sternberg, pers. comm. 2006).

var. grosseserrata (Bl.) Rehd. & Wils.

Q. grosseserrata Bl.
Q. crispula Bl

A large deciduous tree 80 to 100 ft high; young shoots irregularly furnished with pale warts, but not downy. Leaves obovate, 4 to 9 in. long, 2{1/2} to 5{1/2} in. wide, tapered to a pair of auricles at the base, pointed at the apex, ten to fifteen teeth on each margin, the largest from {1/2} to {3/4} in. deep, triangular, and again toothed, dark, rather glossy green above, pale beneath, glabrous except on the midrib and veins, which are more or less downy on both surfaces; stalk {1/8} to {1/3} in. long, glabrous. Fruits one to three on a short stalk; acorn about one- third enclosed in the hemispherical cup.Native of Japan, Sakhalin, and the southern Kuriles; introduced to Kew in 1893 by means of seeds collected by Prof. Sargent during his visit to Japan in the autumn of that year. Although it appears to be quite hardy in this country, this oak does not thrive so well with us as it does in the eastern United States. In the suburbs of Boston, Mass., and in the Arnold Arboretum trees of the same generation as those at Kew are already remarkably striking for their size, rude vigour, and splendid foliage. Even on young trees in this country I have measured leaves 12 in. by 7 in., but on adult trees no doubt they are much smaller.One of the trees at Kew raised from the seeds collected by Prof. Sargent has developed into a splendid specimen measuring 61 × 6{3/4} ft (1972).Q. mongolica, in its typical state, may not be in cultivation in Britain. It occurs in Japan, Sakhalin, and the S. Kuriles but has its main distribution on the mainland of N.E. Asia; despite the specific epithet it scarcely extends into Mongolia, however. From the above variety it differs in its leaves, with more rounded, entire lobes, and in the very thick, woody scales of the fruit-cups.