Quercus pubescens var. crispata
Common Name: downy oak 
Type: Tree
Family: Fagaceae
Native Range: Southern Europe to Turkey and the Crimea
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellowish-green
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 5-8 where it is best grown in rich, moist, well-drained loams in full sun. Grows well in sandy loams. Tolerates some part shade but not full shade. Unlike most species of oak, this tree grows well in hot dry summers.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Quercus pubescens, commonly called downy oak, is a medium sized deciduous tree which typically matures to 40-60’ tall with a broad open-rounded but somewhat irregular crown and softly pubescent twigs. It is native from Spain through southern and central Europe to the Caucusus and southwestern Asia. Obovate to elliptic leaves (to 4-5” long), each with 5-8 pairs of veins, are concentrated in branched clusters at the branch ends. Leaves are dark green above and pale gray-green beneath, with both surfaces being covered by a minute pubescence particularly on young leaves. The amount of pubescence varies considerably among different populations. Leaves typically have wide-rounded apices, 4-8 pairs of rounded lobes with deep or shallow sinuses, and rounded to subcordate bases. Russet fall color. Acorns (to ¾” long) typically appear in groups of 2-5. Cups are light gray to near white with overlapping scales covered with tomentum. Ornamentally insignificant monoecious flowers (females in clusters and males in dangling catkins) bloom in April-May. Female flowers are followed by small ovoid acorns (to 1” diameter) in groups of 2-5. Each acorn is enclosed within a scaly cupule (cup) made up of adpressed, gray-white tomentose scales. Cup typically covers about 1/3 of the acorn. Acorns ripen in September-October.

Var. crispata is a compact form which is native to the Balkans and Crimea. It typically grows as a shrub or small tree to 20’ tall. Leaves (to 1-2.5” long) are quite variable in appearance, ranging from deeply pinnatifid to almost entire. Each leaf usually has 4-6 pairs of veins, attenuate scales and acute apices. Quercus pubescens subsp. anatolica is a synonym of Quercus pubescens var. crispata.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for oak trees.

Specific epithet from Latin means covered with hair in reference to the tomentose twigs and leaves.


No serious insect or disease problems. Oaks in general are susceptible to a large number of diseases, including oak wilt, chestnut blight, shoestring root rot, anthracnose, oak leaf blister, cankers, leaf spots and powdery mildew. Potential insect pests include scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miner, galls, oak lace bugs, borers, caterpillars and nut weevils.


Woodland gardens.