A deciduous tree up to 120 ft high with a long clear bole and a spreading crown; bark on old trees thick, with pale ridges divided by darker coloured furrows; buds ovoid, acute, greyish or pale dull yellow, glabrous. Leaves obovate to broad-elliptic in general outline, up to 8 in. long, 4 to 5 in. wide, seven- to nine-lobed, the lobes separated by deep sinuses (shallower on leaves of lower branches), furnished with numerous bristle-tipped teeth, rather glossy green above, glabrous on both sides when mature except for large axillary tufts beneath; petioles slender, 2 in. or slightly more long. Fruits usually solitary; acorn ovoid, about 1 in. long; cup of varying depth, from saucer-shaped and enclosing only the base of the acorn to deeply cup-shaped.
Native of the eastern USA from Texas to the Atlantic, north in the Mississippi valley almost to the Great Lakes and in the east to N. Carolina. It is allied to Q. rubra and Q. coccinea but distinguished from both in the absence of fruits by the pale buds and the large axillary tufts on the leaf-undersides.
There are two examples at Kew, the larger pl. 1901, 57 × 5 ft (1965).