An evergreen (or it may be, in cold climates, sub-evergreen) shrub 6 ft or more high; young shoots very slender, furnished with starry down at first, becoming nearly or quite glabrous by late autumn. Leaves ovate-lanceolate to oblong, pointed at the apex, rounded to wedge-shaped at the base, the margins set with triangular spine-tipped teeth, 3⁄4 to 21⁄2 in. long, 3⁄8 to 11⁄8 in. wide, dark green and at first starry downy on both surfaces, becoming nearly glabrous by autumn except on the midrib and especially at the base beneath; stalk 1⁄12 to 1⁄4 in. long. Fruits short-stalked, solitary; acorns roundish egg-shaped, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. wide, silky at the top; cup 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. wide, with reflexed, awl-shaped downy scales.
Native of W. China; originally discovered by the Italian missionary Giraldi, in Shensi, in 1895; introduced in 1914, probably by F. N. Meyer. Wilson found it common in warm, semi-arid regions of the Min River in W. Szechwan.
There is an example 9 ft high in the National Botanic Garden, Glasnevin, near Dublin (1966).