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Tree to 15 m × 30 cm dbh. Young shoots with dark brown pubescence, becoming glabrous. Leaves evergreen, leathery, with up to 13 lateral veins either side of the midrib, prominently raised beneath, to 16 × 6 cm, elliptic to oblong or lanceolate, taper-pointed at the apex, rounded to tapered at the base, with up to 7 or 8 teeth on each side except at the base, entire or with few teeth towards the apex on mature plants. Leaves thinly hairy on both sides when young, becoming glabrous. Petioles to 2 cm long, downy, at least when young. Cups hemispherical, to 8 × 10 mm, with appressed, tomentose scales. Acorns ellipsoid, 2.2 cm long, about half enclosed in the cup and ripening the second year. (Huang 1996).
Habitat Mountain forests often on limestone.
USDA Hardiness Zone 7
Conservation status Data deficient (DD)
Taxonomic note There has been considerable confusion in descriptions and illustrations found in many works between this species and Q. spinosa, although they are very different in appearance and are easily distinguished by the size and shape of the leaves. According to Flora of Taiwan (Huang 1996) the leaves of Q. spinosa are 3.7–4.3 × 2–2.7 cm with 6-10 vein pairs while those of Q. tatakaensis are 6.5–16 × 2.7–6.2 cm with 7–16 vein pairs. Both can have spiny and entire leaves. For a discussion of this see Chassé 2017.
This species is growing vigorously at Chevithorne Barton, England, where it has reached 3.1 m × 3.2 cm (J. MacEwen pers. comm. 2020). It was received from Tom Hudson, who rooted cuttings from a plant at Tregrehan, England, grown from Taiwan seed, which was about 3 m tall in 2020 (T. Hudson pers. comm.). At the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, England, there is a plant grown from Taiwan seed received in 2005. A plant at Meise Botanic Garden, Belgium, received as seed from Taiwan in 2006 as Q. spinosa var. miyabei f. rugosa was about 4 m tall and 6.3 cm diameter in 2020 (J. de Langhe and K. Bauter pers. comms. 2020). At Arboretum des Pouyouleix in France there are two small plants grown from seed received from Taiwan in 2015. It is also grown at Arboretum Trompenburg in the Netherlands.
Described in 1944, the epithet refers to the place where it was found, Tataka, in Yushan National Park, Taiwan.