A small tree or shrub in the northern part of its range, but said to grow tall in the mountains of Mexico; branchlets at first covered with a fawn or brownish tomentum, later glabrous. Leaves oblong-obovate, 23⁄4 to 4 in. long, 11⁄4 to 3 in. wide, usually obtuse or rounded at the apex, rounded or slightly cordate at the base, of stiff, leathery texture, upper surface conspicuously net-veined, dark green and glabrous except for scattered stellate hairs, undersurface coated with a yellowish, stellate tomentum, the midrib and reticulations prominent, margins undulately toothed, the teeth mostly ending in short rigid mucros, the basal part sometimes almost entire; veins in about eight pairs, each running out to a tooth or sometimes branching near the margin; petiole about 1⁄4 in. long. Fruits ripening the first season, borne two to six together at the end of a slender peduncle up to 3 in. or even more long; acorn about 1⁄2 in. long, its lower quarter enclosed in a cup-shaped or hemispherical cup, with tomentose, ovate, appressed scales.
Native of N. Mexico, extending into the south-western USA (S.E. New Mexico and S.E. Arizona); introduced to Britain from Mexico in 1839. It may not have been in cultivation continuously since then, but was growing at Kew in 1883 and is now in commerce.