A deciduous tree up to 100 ft high in the wild; stems and leaves densely coated when young with a rust-coloured tomentum. Mature leaves very thick and leathery, obovate or broadly oblong-elliptic or roundish, broadly obtuse or sometimes almost truncate at the apex, cordate, truncate or occasionally rounded at the base, up to 41⁄4 in. long and 31⁄4 in. wide, upper surface glabrous or almost so, with all the veins impressed, lower surface densely tomentose, with mostly four to seven prominent lateral veins each side the midrib, many of them branched, margins of the young leaves slightly serrated, those of the mature leaves irregularly sinuated but otherwise entire except for the bristles terminating the lateral veins and their branches; petioles very short. Fruits ripening the first season; acorns about 3⁄4 in. long, one-third to one-half enclosed in a shallow cup with brown, appressed scales.
Native of central Mexico. There may have been early introductions of this species, but the only specimen known to exist in the British Isles grows at Caerhays Castle, Cornwall, This was raised from seeds collected by the American botanist G. B. Hinton in 1939 under field-number 6402, and measures 41 × 21⁄4 ft (1971). The above description of the foliage is made from this tree. A younger, very vigorous example at Kew has leaves as much as 71⁄2 in. long and 41⁄2 in. wide, on stalks up to 3⁄4 in. long.