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This species is mainly represented in cultivation by the following variety:
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 × 71⁄2 ft (1986).
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).
Q. grosseserrata Bl.
Q. crispula Bl