A deciduous tree 60 to 80 ft high, its trunk 6 to 9 ft in girth; young shoots dark-coloured and quite glabrous. Leaves oblong-lanceolate, wedge-shaped at the base, tapered at the apex to a long slender point, the margin set with bristlelike teeth terminating the primary veins; 4 to 8 in. long, 1 to 21⁄2 in. wide; green on both surfaces but rather paler below and quite glabrous except for a few whitish appressed hairs on the veins; veins in twelve to twenty pairs; stalk 1⁄4 to 1 in. long, glabrous. Male catkins 4 in. or more long, solitary in the leaf-axils. Nut solitary in the husk, cone-shaped, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. wide at the base, enclosed in a prickly husk 1 in. wide. The fruits may be solitary or two or three in a cluster.
Native of China, where it is widely spread; according to Wilson it is common in the mountain woods of Hupeh and Szechwan. It was introduced by him to the Coombe Wood nursery in 1900, and a plant obtained from there is growing at Kew. Although hardy it does not promise to make a fine tree. The largest in the collection is forty-five years old and only 16 ft high.