A deciduous tree up to 60 ft high, with very stout young shoots and leafstalks covered with a thick, soft, greyish down that becomes dark, and persists through the second season; buds clothed with slender, hairy stipules 3⁄4 in. long. Leaves broadly obovate, tapered at the base, the margin conspicuously cut into seven to eleven rounded lobes down either side, each lobe 1⁄2 to 1 in. deep, sometimes with one to three teeth on its lower side. The largest leaves are 6 in. long and 4 in. wide, the smallest half as large, green, with minute hairs above, pale beneath, and clothed with soft down; stalk 1⁄2 to 5⁄8 in. long. Fruits scarcely stalked; acorns about 1 in. long, the lower half enclosed by a cup which is covered outside with erect, lanceolate, downy scales.
Native of the Caucasus and Transcaucasus, and of N. Iran (in the forest region south of the Caspian). It is one of the most distinct of the oaks of western Eurasia, with large leaves equalling Q. frainetto and Q. canariensis in that respect, but distinct from them in the densely downy shoots and undersurface of the leaves. A further distinction is that in neither of those species do the buds bear persistent stipules. Q. macranthera is quite hardy and occasionally produces fertile acorns in this country.
The date of introduction was given in previous editions as 1895, this being the year in which a plant was received at Kew from Späth’s nursery, Berlin. But William Barron and Son listed it in their catalogue for 1874, with no mention of its being a novelty, and the trees at Westonbirt are certainly older than any at Kew, and are believed to have been planted around 1878. The measurements of these are: in Mitchell Drive 80 × 63⁄4 ft (1972), in Broad Drive 60 × 7 ft (1967). Some others recorded recently are: Kew, pl. 1895, 47 × 31⁄4 ft (1965) and pl. 1908, 62 × 41⁄4 ft (1972), both in the Oak collection; Caerhays, Cornwall, 52 × 43⁄4 ft (1971); East Bergholt Place, Suffolk, 50 × 33⁄4 ft (1972); Jephson Park, Leamington, 46 × 4 ft (1971); Edinburgh Botanic Garden, three specimens of almost equal size, the largest 52 × 6 ft (1970).