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Tree to 30 m, 1.6 m dbh. Branchlets yellowish or reddish brown with short silky hairs, later glabrous. Leaves deciduous, 9–17 × 5–10 cm, obovate, upper surface yellowish or grey-green, glabrous or with some single and stellate hairs particularly by midrib, lower surface with appressed stellate or grouped hairs, seven to eight secondary veins on each side of the midrib, margins with four to seven deep, regular, acute or rounded lobes with shallow secondary lobing, apex obtuse to rounded or acute; petiole 0.8–3.5 cm long, pubescent. Infructescence short with one to three cupules. Cupule hemispheric, 1.4–1.8 × 1–1.3 cm, grey-brown; scales flat, appressed, tomentose. Acorn ovoid, half to two-thirds of its length enclosed in cupule, ~2 cm long, stylopodium short. Flowering June, fruiting September (Turkey). Hedge & Yaltirik 1994. Distribution TURKEY. Habitat Mixed oak and conifer woodland between 1300 and 1800 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 6. Conservation status Near Threatened. Illustration A plate of Q. vulcanica from T. Kotschy’s Die Eichen Europas und des Orients (1858–1862) is fortuitously reproduced (p. 496) in the excellent history of botanical art Garden Eden: Masterpieces of Botanical Illustration, by H. Walter Lack (2001), which would repay its place on any plantsman’s shelf. NT758.
The field notes of the Flanagan & Pitman Expedition to Turkey (1990) describe Quercus vulcanica as ‘a magnificent species with outsize leaves’. The collection by this team under TURX 82 came from near Egridir in Isparta Province, and the specimen at Kew that derives from it already deserves the adjective ‘magnificent’. It is forming a columnar tree, currently approximately 8 m tall and growing very fast, and has every chance of being one of the great trees of Kew in the future. Closely related to Q. frainetto, but endemic to Anatolia, Q. vulcanica shares the deeply lobed leaves of that more familiar species, but the leaves have distinctly velvety-feeling pubescence on their lower surfaces. Although the sample is limited, Q. vulcanica may not always be so successful: at Chevithorne Barton a small and very slow-growing individual suffers badly from mildew, while at the Hillier Gardens another small specimen is attempting to reorganise itself after losing its top. At Arboretum Trompenburg it is doing well from a 1987 collection in Turkey (G. Fortgens, pers. comm. 2006); at Ettelbruck, where it is not affected by mildew, it grows slowly but steadily (E. Jablonski, pers. comm. 2006). Dirk Benoit at Pavia Nursery, Belgium has propagated a distinct clone with particularly deeply lobed leaves and named it ‘Kasnak’, after the region of Turkey where the species grows (Jablonski 2006).