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A medium-sized tree; young shoots scurfy at first; buds light brown, the scales slightly ciliate. Leaves copper-tinted when young, in general outline obovate to elliptic, mostly with a well-developed lobe on either side in the upper half, other leaves with more numerous, unequal lobes; terminal lobe entire or obscurely lobulate, usually acute and sometimes falcate, lateral lobes acute or obtuse, mostly bristle-tipped, base of blade cuneate, usually asymmetric, overall size of lobed leaves 41⁄2 to 7 in. long, 2 to 33⁄4 in. wide; terminal leaf on some shoots narrow-elliptic, almost entire and, e.g., 31⁄2 in. long, 5⁄8 in. wide; blade dark glossy green, glabrous above, underside paler, dull green, slightly scurfy and with abundant loose tawny down on each side the midrib and main laterals; petioles 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. long. Flowers and fruits not seen.
A hybrid between Q. falcata var. pagodifolia and Q. phellos, described by Professor Sargent in 1913 from a tree found in St Landry parish, Louisiana. The description given above is made from a tree at Borde Hill in Sussex, identified as being this hybrid by Dr Rehder of the Arnold Arboretum in 1932. It came from Rovelli’s nursery, Pallanza, Italy, but under what name is not recorded. It agrees moderately well with the dried specimen from the type-tree sent by Prof. Sargent to Kew, except that in this specimen there are numerous ‘phellos-type’ leaves at the end of the shoot, which are up to 7 in. long and only 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. wide, lobed, undulate or entire. On the Borde Hill tree such leaves are sparsely produced and on the tree at Kew in the Oak collection, which is otherwise similar, they have not been noticed.
Q. × ludoviciana, as seen in cultivation, is one of the most ornamental of the oaks, with healthy, glossy foliage richly tinted when it unfolds and remaining on the tree without withering until late in the autumn. The example at Kew in the Oak collection by the Thames, pl. 1936, measures 42 × 23⁄4 ft (1967).
In Q. × ludoviciana ‘microcarpa’ all the leaves are elongate, up to 41⁄2 in. long and 1 in. wide, some entire and others with up to five rather sharp lobulate teeth on each side, underside scurfy, with denser hair on the midrib. It was sold by Booth of Hamburg, before 1880, apparently as “Q. rubra” or “Q. phellos microcarpa”. It is not known to be in cultivation in this country.
The hybrid named Q. × subfalcaia by Trelease is thought to be Q. phellos crossed with typical Q. falcata. It appears to be very similar to typical Q. × ludoviciana.
The tree at Kew in the Oak Collection, pl. 1936, measures 64 × 51⁄4 ft (1978). This is a cutting from the Borde Hill tree, so the similarity noted is hardly surprising. There are two other examples at Kew, from the same source.