Habit: slow growing evergreen tree reaching great heights if given enough time. Open-grown trees have a broad, rounded crown and straight trunk, while those growing in shadier sites have a narrow, conical crown. The bark is thick and fissured and mature trunks have a large burl at the trunks base. Leaves and stems on younger shoots are covered in small brownish yellow hairs, as the leaves age they become smooth and gray-green above and only fuzzy below. They are oblong reaching 5 in (12 cm) long with sharply toothed margins, and a stiff leathery texture. Flowers are produced on both male and female catkins from April -August, and the fruit is an acorn taking two years to fully develop.
Ecology: endemic to a small area from the Southern Oregon Coast to the Southern California Coast as well as on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range on dry wooded slopes at elevations from 140-5000 ft (42-1525 m).
Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade, deep well drained moist to dry soil. Tan oak is best adapted to a cool-moist coastal climate.
Lithocarpus densiflorus is susceptible to sudden oak death.