A densely and intricately branched semi-evergreen shrub to about 10 ft high, sometimes a small tree; branchlets downy at first, sometimes persistently so; buds ovoid, acute. Leaves persisting until late in the winter, variable in shape, size and toothing, oblong to roundish, cuneate to cordate at the base, usually not much over 1 in. long, leathery, glabrous and glossy above when mature, downy or tomentose beneath, margins entire or dentate, the teeth when present sometimes spinose; petioles very short. Fruits ripening in their first season, almost sessile; acorns [3/8] to 1[1/4] in. long, ovoid to subcylindric; cups enclosing up to half the acorn, thick-walled, the lower scales tuberculate.
Native of California, mostly in the coastal ranges and on some islands, extending into Mexico. The plants now in cultivation are from an introduction by Messrs Hillier.
† Q. durata Jeps. Q. dumosa subsp. durata (Jeps.) A. Camus; Q. dumosa var. bullata Engelm. – Another Californian scrub-oak, allied to Q. dumosa, differing in being fully evergreen and in its revolute leaves dull and more persistently downy above. The leaves are very thick and rigid, whence the vernacular name ‘leather oak’. Native of the mountains of California; introduced by Roy Lancaster in 1985.